Leave your bag­gage be­hind

Truro Daily News - - OPINION -

Carry-on bag­gage might well be one of the great­est ex­am­ples there is of hu­man greed and self­ish­ness in ac­tion. And no, not just for the way your fel­low air­line pas­sen­gers bend or break ev­ery rule to stuff as many things as they can in the over­head bins as they avoid air­line fees for checked bag­gage.

There’s a far more se­ri­ous side to it, es­pe­cially when an air­craft emer­gency takes place.

Maybe it’s hu­man na­ture to want to hang onto your prop­erty, but it’s a po­ten­tially fa­tal choice –for you, and for those around you.

After an air crash in Halifax in 2015 and an air­craft col­li­sion and fire in Toronto in 2018, the Trans­porta­tion Safety Board warned that pas­sen­gers in­sist­ing on tak­ing their carry-on bag­gage with them in emer­gen­cies slowed es­cape and threat­ened lives.

This is from the re­port on the Jan­uary 2018 col­li­sion in Toronto: “Dur­ing the evac­u­a­tion, the (flight at­ten­dants) is­sued in­struc­tions with and with­out the as­sis­tance of a hand­held mega­phone, telling the pas­sen­gers to leave all their carry-on bag­gage be­hind. De­spite these in­struc­tions, numer­ous pas­sen­gers brought carry-on bag­gage with them, which slowed down the evac­u­a­tion process.”

As the Trans­porta­tion Safety Board wrote in a re­port on its in­ves­ti­ga­tion of the Halifax crash, “If pas­sen­gers re­trieve or at­tempt to re­trieve their carry-on bag­gage dur­ing an evac­u­a­tion, they are putting them­selves and other pas­sen­gers at a greater risk of in­jury or death.”

That hap­pened de­spite the fact that it was a vi­o­lent crash; parts of the air­craft were torn off, and metal sup­port beams were pushed up through the floor of the air­craft into the pas­sen­ger com­part­ment.

The TSB sounds like a bit of a bro­ken record on the is­sue. “In 2007, fol­low­ing its in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the Au­gust 2005 over­run oc­cur­rence at Toronto Lester B. Pear­son In­ter­na­tional Air­port, On­tario, the TSB found that, dur­ing the emer­gency evac­u­a­tion of the air­craft, many pas­sen­gers took their carry-on bag­gage with them, de­spite spe­cific in­struc­tions to the con­trary be­ing re­peat­edly shouted to them by the flight at­ten­dants.”

Any­one sens­ing a theme here?

Turns out, the reg­u­la­tor was far too ac­cu­rate. Al­most pre­scient, in fact.

Be­cause carry-on bag­gage ap­par­ently played a role in 41 deaths, in­clud­ing two chil­dren, in a fiery Moscow crash.

On Sun­day, a Rus­sian pas­sen­ger jet headed from Moscow to Mur­mansk turned back after declar­ing an in-flight emer­gency.

The air­craft burst into flames upon land­ing, a hor­ri­fy­ing scene caught on cam­era. In dif­fer­ent videos, you can ac­tu­ally see pas­sen­gers flee­ing with their carry-on bags in hand.

As Reuters news agency re­ported, “The In­ter­fax news agency cited an un­named ‘ in­formed source’ as say­ing the evac­u­a­tion of the plane had been delayed by some pas­sen­gers in­sist­ing on col­lect­ing their hand lug­gage first.”

Imag­ine. Some­one’s need to res­cue their roller­suit­case could mean that other peo­ple die.

Hu­man greed and self­ish­ness, in­deed.

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