Is there a `safest` seat in a plane crash? - MyFoxAustin.com | KTBC Fox 7 | News, Weather, Sports

Is there a `safest` seat in a plane crash?

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

The pictures and stories of survival coming out of San Francisco have a lot of people asking, where is the safest spot to sit when you're flying?

Chicago attorneys Bob Clifford and Tom Demetrio have spent decades investigating plane crashes. Tragedies like the 1989 crash of United Flight 232, where 112 people died but 188 survived. They say it's unlikely that a particular seat that will increase your chances for survival. For starters, some passengers get knocked out and never make it out of their seats.

"People say maybe it's better to sit in the back, maybe it's better to be in first class, the reality is its all fate, it's all precipitous," Clifford says. "What we learned principally from United Flight 232 though, is that people can be injured, and physically stuck in their seats, and as a result of that they may perish either from fire or from smoke inhalation."

"So, to answer your question, if someone were to ask me, ‘where should I sit?' I don't think it matters," says Demetrio.

Clifford says rear seats have sometimes been considered safer, but in the San Francisco crash, the two victims were apparently sitting in the rear, when the plane's tail was knocked off.

The Discovery Channel recently staged a jetliner crash, with test dummies. It suggested that sitting near an exit door gave passengers a better chance. Demetrio says that from a structural standpoint, the first class cabin is not the strongest.

"So while you may get your drinks and an upgrade on meals, its historically not the safest place to be," Demetrio explains.

As to the San Francisco crash, Clifford questions why the Boeing 777, a relatively new aircraft, does not an audible low airspeed alert system. He says the NTSB has been recommending them for years.

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