Aviation disasters, whether involving private or commercial aircraft, create a special type of tragic loss that can far exceed the nature of losses resulting from accidents involving land vehicles such as cars, trucks, and buses.
An aviation disaster, whether it occurs in a commercial or a privately-owned aircraft, can be especially devastating because it is more likely to affect multiple parties. When an accident occurs in flight, or upon take-off or landing, the consequences can be easily exacerbated due to extreme rates of speed, by additional dangers associated with being in motion at high altitudes far above the ground, or by the numerous factors inherent to flying an aircraft that place human beings in untenable situations which are not life-sustaining. For instance, while leaping from an automobile traveling at a slow rate of speed may allow for a passenger to escape from a car relatively unscathed; the act of leaping out an airplane’s window, if it’s “cruising” along at 600 miles per hour at 34,000 feet, is bound to be a suicidal act. In such a case, the leaping passenger may actually be dead prior to impacting the ground more than six miles below. In addition, a large airliner or “airbus,” packed with airborne passengers enroute to their destinations, is not likely to have many survivors if it collides with another aircraft in mid-air. In fact, in such a special tragedy, multiple parties may be severely injured or more probably killed simultaneously. Other causes besides collision with a second aircraft may also be involved, resulting in a similar fate for many passengers.
Aviation-related injuries and death may be triggered by encounters with unforeseen weather systems or conditions, mechanical failure, shortage of fuel, defective navigational tools, or human errors related to the proper operation of such tools: insufficient airframe and engine maintenance, excessive age and consequent diminished reliability of aircraft components, crew fatigue or negligence, and more recently, the increasing risk of injury or death caused by a terrorist act.
When considering air travel, many factors must be considered. While no precaution taken by a passenger can guarantee a risk-free flight either domestically or internationally, airlines and private operators are obligated to not assume undue risk when enroute to a destination. If risks deemed improper are taken and the consequence is an aviation disaster, liability may well become applicable to certain parties. In the case of a terrorist act, criminality may well be assigned as well.
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