Alaskan Safety Study: Crashes, Fires, Fatalities
A Johns Hopkins University study looked at the same issue, from a slightly different perspective, and came up with similar conclusions in 2001. The institution's School of Public Health and Hygiene revealed in its study of Alaskan accidents that the biggest difference between crashes in which the occupants survived and those in which they were killed was whether or not there was a post-crash fire. "Postcrash fire was the strongest predictor of fatality for pilots in this study," the paper concludes, noting that "fuel systems that could withstand impact forces more effectively and keep from igniting when a crash occurred could lessen the number of post-crash fires, improving survivability." The Hopkins study also revealed some interesting facts about the Alaskan data that might affect its application elsewhere. For example, your chances of surviving an aircraft accident in Alaska are significantly better if you're an Alaskan, which the study surmises has to do with experience and local knowledge. The report also says that flying for a living is the most dangerous occupation in Alaska. The report states, "Between 1990 and 1999, aircraft crashes in Alaska caused 106 occupational deaths among workers classified as civilian pilots. This is equivalent to 410 deaths per 100,000 pilots per year -- approximately 100 times the mortality rate for US workers as a whole."