Material World: fleeing passengers grab bags before children

July 8, 2013CALIFORNIAWhen seconds can mean the difference between life and death in escaping an aircraft accident, it was startling to see so many photographs from the crash of Asiana Flight 214 at San Francisco International Airport of people carrying out bags, including roll aboards that must have come out of the overhead luggage bins. At least one man interviewed in the New York Times indicated that he grabbed his bags and then his child. In that order. All I can say is that it was very fortunate that the fire was slow to spread. While aircraft manufacturers like Boeing BA have done much in the last couple of decades to improve survivability in aircraft accidents by including materials that are fire-retardant, the fact remains that accidents such as this one often result in ruptured fuel lines or fuel tanks. Once aviation fuel spills, the chances are great that it will come in contact with a hot surface like an engine and ignite. Or the fuel could ignite for other reasons, including sparks caused by the fuselage skidding along the tarmac. Once the fuel ignites it spreads very quickly. Even the skin of an aircraft will burn through under the right conditions spreading the fire inside the aircraft very quickly. And no matter how much work has been done in the area of fire-retarding materials, the interior of an aircraft is not fire-proof. In addition to the fire itself, of course, is the danger from the toxic fumes created by the burning of plastic materials, carpets, as well as passenger belongings. Of all the aircraft accidents I have investigated or am familiar with, this is the first where it appears significant numbers of people took their belongings with them in escaping. What impact this had on other passengers and the extent of their injuries will need to be determined by the NTSB. At a minimum, it seems clear to me that a public awareness campaign needs to be launched to ensure that passengers do not impede the evacuation of an aircraft in an emergency. Certainly now that airlines and the FAA are clearly on notice that survivable accidents could be imperiled by passengers wasting time collecting their bags, they need to take action to address this issue before anyone needlessly dies in a survivable accident. –Forbes
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22 Responses to Material World: fleeing passengers grab bags before children

  1. They are already saying that this crash is a false flag. Saying this plane is used for training purposes for firmen to learn how to deal with these type of fires. The video shows the opening in the roof of the plane already there before the fire. Watch the video and decide for yourself. Many other observations point to false flag.


  2. suez says:

    Either that man was totally stupid, didn’t care for his child, or totally obvious as to the danger they were in…how sad.


  3. Germaine Andreas says:

    Wow   that is unbelievable   Times have sure changed   Your bag is more valuable than a life.  Sad



  4. Nonin says:

    Outrageous, what is wrong with people?


  5. Nancy says:



  6. Rob says:

    Oh my God!!! This is ridiculous!!! I cannot perceive how people can be like this… Really upsetting to say the least.


  7. Wilhelm says:

    Forbes magazine admonishing the terrorized and confused public for their twisted materialistic actions and behavior…? Talk about the fire calling the kettle black! O_LO


  8. nickK0 says:

    This, is shocking…. But no one should really be surprised. 😦


  9. Pat says:

    My daughter is grown and I have always put her first but I’ve also never been in an emergency situation with her. People sometimes do outrageous things they’d never do otherwise. I’d hate to automatically say each of these parents were only concerned with their material belongings without knowing if they simply expressed panic in an outrageous manner. I can’t imagine surviving a plane crash and how upside down my brain would be.


  10. Paul says:

    What matters is loved ones and fond memories. Not material possessions.


  11. this just shows people did not realize the danger, it is a common thing now in the west especially america, people are so complacent they think nothing can happen to them this all happens in a sub-conscience level. Not one of these people would be any good in an emergency situation where quick thinking is needed.


  12. They said they grabbed their bag from overhead and then their child meaning grabbed bag out with one hand and then grabbed the child and went out with both. Who actually saw anyone go outside first? This was just what ONE man said, and he could’ve meant he grabbed the overhead because how can you grab the child and overhead at the sametime? He must’ve felt safe or he would’ve grabbed his child and gotten himself the heck out of there!


    • Moco says:

      But one self centered person can cause the loss of many lives, thinking about his bag over others. Not good. Not good, at all. But if diabetic would need meds? During crisis, most have no clue on what to do, except panic. Surprizing that civilization has made it this far.


  13. Dorothy Rownfats says:

    We don’t know the timing of their exit. If the plane while having just crashed was “safely” on the ground and there ‘was no visible’ signs of fire, the passengers were simply disembarking the plane. They had after all survived relatively unscathed. In the initial stages of ‘unboarding’ there may not have been the urgency to grab your child and run.


  14. Lugh says:

    If there was time I take my suitcase too – if my child was right next to me and ready to be grabbed next. If not, then I’d forget about the case and go look for him.


  15. Grognard says:

    Not to mention everyone who had to stand there and wait for some idiot to get his bags as the plane burns around them.


  16. Jennifer in Reno! says:

    Wernt these people from China? If so then the comment about “western” society shouldnt even be on here.


  17. Steve says:

    Airlines must do more to teach passengers proper procedure IN PRINT during such an emergency. The book “Influence” is recommended. Apparently someone reached for his/her baggage. Everyone thought, “It’s ok for me to do that too.” They all should have known to say, “Forget the bag. Get out of here NOW!” One video even showed a violent push — which I’m afraid might turn into a fist fight. At least sharp words are required. Past efforts to stop fuel from igniting have met little success. The only safe procedure is to calmly file off the plane as quickly as possible — and pray!


  18. trumpsahead says:

    Wow, give it a rest you people – remember “innocent until PROVEN guilty”?
    Passengers grabbing luggage before children probably knew their child or children were close at hand. Most people would do the same; why jump to conclusions.


  19. Nik Kelly says:

    D’uh, it only takes one such piece of baggage to become wedged or trip a pile-up and the death-toll doubles…

    Okay, cabin materials are much safer than they used to be, but passengers haven’t improved…

    FWIW, I remember finding I was a ‘fill in’ passenger on a 90% package tour flight. Since I was one of the handful of ‘young folk’ among the many spry, but rather elderly ladies in the ‘package’ party, and we were heading for a difficult landing, I and several others ‘youngsters’ were swapped to beside emergency doors. We were issued strict instructions to not hesitate or grab *any* baggage, but ‘trip the door, chute and scoot’. With luck, our nimble example would lead the way…

    Very, very covertly, I shifted a few items from carry-on case to my jacket’s zip pockets…

    We flew into the technically difficult ‘old’ Athens airport through the heart of a big, bad thunderstorm. Seat belts on from half an hour out. Roller-coaster ride dumping stuff from the over-heads. Lightning strikes repeatedly tripping cabin electrics. Blue flashes lighting the cabin like manic paparazzi. Wings flapping like Canada geese. Engines wobbling like a bad cartoon…

    The only reason no-one was sick was because snacks and drinks had been served real-early so the trolleys could be tied down…

    Kudos to the flight crew, we didn’t need a go-around despite wind-shear etc. Didn’t even burst a tyre. Still, if the cabin crew had yelled, I was three seconds from being the first off, then standing ready to help the rest get clear…


  20. joseph says:

    The first thing that is sacrificed when one disregards having a “higher power” is ‘care of others’….self comes first.


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