I do not want for one second to belittle the tragic loss of life that occurs with each air crash but I wonder, what is it about a plane crash that impacts on our consciousness?
Every two days, approximately 66 people are killed on Egyptian roads; a total of 12,000 a year. 45 people per 100,000 die on Egyptian roads. Thats a horrific statistic but no one says anything about it. A year ago, a bus veered off the road at Giza into a canal leading to 35 people dead. It barely made a blip in the West.
In January this year, seven were killed and many injured when a train crashed into a truck in Giza, Not a word in the global media.
In January, 2016, at least 17 people drowned after a small ferry sank in the Nile River. Most of us are not aware of this incident.
All of these incidents could have resulted from terror. All could have been human error. All could have been mechanical failure but there was no wide spread media attention on any of them. There has been daily reporting since the loss of life on Egyptair’s flight 804 two weeks agom.
There are scores of ferries, cars, buses and rain wrecks a year. There is much grief from the tragic loss of so many men, women and children. Yet, our media always focuses on air travel. Despite it continuing to be the safest form of air travel even today. In 2015, 3.7 billion passengers were carried and there were 16 plane crashes with a loss of life of 501. If people died in the same proportions in the skies as they do on Egyptian roads then there would have been 1.7 million air fatalities last year.
Each life is as precious as anyone else’s. Why do we focus on air travellers? Why do we not worry about car deaths? Why do we not discuss ways to reduce those fatalities? The 24 hour news cycle repeating blow by blow incidents about planes compared with the scant attention any other incident has gives the impression to the general public that flying is somehow quite unsafe.
Are we creating a vicious cycle where people fear air crashes so we focus on them more? Because we focus on them more, we then create an atmosphere where people are more nervous of flying? Is it because we often do not understand why a plane crashes for so long? Why are people more virtuous when they are killed in an air crash than a train or ferry disaster?