Tras el “accidente de avión de Spanair en Barajas”, han empezado a surgir como setas estudios y debates que tienen como objeto contestar a la mágica pregunta: “¿cuál es el asiento más seguro de un avión en caso de accidente?”
La pregunta es muy sencilla, sin embargo, responderla no lo es tanto, ya que no existen criterios fehacientes que demuestren que un pasajero esté más protegido en uno u otro asiento.
De hecho, en las últimas horas, especialistas en Ingeniería Aeronáutica han asegurado que los aviones antiguos no tienen por qué ser más seguros que uno que acabe de salir de fábrica, sino que la única diferencia entre ellos reside en la innovación tecnológica y en el mantenimiento más o menos exhaustivo que la compañía realice de las aeronaves.
Aunque no se pueda hablar de pruebas científicas acerca de 'los lugares seguros',
Los resultados del estudio, publicados por los diarios británicos The Times y Dayly Mail que “los asientos que cuentan con un mejor promedio de supervivencia son los situados justo en la fila de las salidas de emergencia y los de la fila de delante y de detrás”. También señalan como más seguros los lugares “situados en la parte frontal y los de pasillo”, por la posibilitar una mayor rapidez de movimiento en caso de emergencia.
A continuación, el artículo completo de The Times:
“It is the question that most nervous flyers ask themselves whenever they board an aircraft: where is the safest place to sit? The answer is now much clearer after an exhaustive study of 105 accidents and personal accounts from almost 2,000 survivors of how they managed to escape from crash landings and onboard fires.
For the best chance of getting out alive from a burning aircraft, people should choose an aisle seat near the front within five rows of an emergency exit.
Commissioned by the Civil Aviation Authority and carried out by
The most dangerous seats are those six or more rows from an exit. The study says: “Here, the chances of perishing far outweigh those of surviving.”
Passengers sitting towards the front of the aircraft had a 65 per cent chance of escaping a fire, while the survival rate for those at the rear was 53 per cent. The survival rate in aisle seats was 64 per cent, compared with 58 per cent for other passengers.
A transport safety group said that the findings called into question the increasing trend among airlines for charging passengers extra for exit seats, which have more legroom, or allowing people to select seats online.
One of the fatal accidents analysed in the study was the disaster at
The study found that the passengers who died were on average sitting more than twice as far away from a usable exit as those who survived. Some of the dead, most of whom were killed by toxic fumes, were sitting 15 rows from the nearest usable exit.
Under international air safety regulations, aircraft must undergo an evacuation test to demonstrate that everyone on board can escape within 90 seconds when half the exits are blocked.
But the study found that this test was flawed because it failed to take sufficient account of people's behaviour in an emergency. It said the tests assumed that no one on board had any “social bonds” with other passengers. Analysis of behaviour in real emergencies showed that many passengers delayed their escape to help friends or relatives. People travelling with colleagues, however, appeared to focus on their own survival and head straight for the exit.
Another flaw with the tests was that people were much more willing to comply with directions from cabin crew under experimental conditions than in real danger. Crew are trained to prevent congestion at exits by directing people to a less busy exit. The study said: “In real emergency situations, where passengers may have a choice of directions in which to escape, they may ultimately ignore crew commands and attempt to use their nearest exit.” The survival instinct also tended to result in selfish acts that could delay evacuation, such as people climbing over seats to jump the queue for the exit.
Robert Gifford, director of the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety, said the study “shows your choice of seat on a plane really can be a matter of life or death. Your chance of survival should not be based on your ability to pay for an emergency exit seat or to reserve your seat online.”
Mr Gifford said airlines should consider putting families and elderly people near the exits. They might not be allowed to sit in the exit row, however, because regulations require passengers in those seats to be fit enough to help to open the door.