USA Today | 8/18/2010 12:00:00 AM
Engineers: Passengers' survival was miracle by design
August 18--When an airliner slammed onto a rainy Caribbean runway early Monday and split into three shredded pieces, passengers called it a miracle that no one died in the impact.
"I cringe when I see these headlines that this was a miracle," said John Hickey, the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) deputy safety chief. "We as engineers and scientists don't believe that this is a miracle. We are totally convinced that the work that we did in the 1980s has proven its value."
At that time, a crash severe enough to break a jet into pieces was almost certain to kill passengers. Since then, the FAA — pushed at times by federal crash investigators — has required tougher seats, better emergency lighting, more accessible exits and numerous protections against fire.
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