A plane carrying 71 passengers crashed near Kathmandu's Tribhuvan International Airport in Nepal on Monday. At least 50 people were instantly killed in the crash. According to local reports, upon approach the plane veered off the runway and burst into flames.
Twenty-two people survived, including Dayaram Tamrakar, a travel agent.
“I was able to grab on to my seat during the crash, quickly release seat belts, spring up from the seat and have the sense to force open the emergency door because I was alert,” Tamrakar told the Associated Press. He noted that he was able to assist other passengers to exit the aircraft before he decided to jump out of the plane himself.
“When someone said there was fire it was time to get off the plane. I jumped and looked back and saw the tail part was already on fire,” he added.
Tamrakar’s ability to think and act quickly likely saved his life, and the lives of his fellow passengers. According to Tamrakar, he believes plane passengers should refrain from ever drinking alcohol during flights and avoid sleeping during landing and takeoff. This way, they will remain alert.
As Travel + Leisure previously reported, the first few minutes and last few minutes of a flight are indeed the most dangerous for passengers and crew members. In fact, 48 percent of all fatal accidents occurred during a flight’s final descent and landing.
“Staying alert” is also the advice Cheryl Schwartz, a retired flight attendant for United Airlines, gave for surviving a plane crash. Schwartz wrote on Quora that passengers should note how many rows they are from the closest emergency exit before they even sit down. Because a fire and smoke may block your view of the exit, it’s crucial to be able to count the rows as you exit the airplane.
Schwartz also advised that you never, ever, attempt to take your bags with you in an emergency. Your carry-on is not worth your life.
While this advice is all worth knowing, flying is still the safest way to travel: According to statistics, your chances of dying on a flight or space transport incident are about .01 percent.