Libyan Plane Crash's Sole Survivor Gets Me Thinking

libyan plane crash
Flickr photo by extranoise
A 10-year-old boy is the only survivor of a plane crash in Libya that killed 103 people -- 92 passengers and 11 crew members.

For an already-frightened flier like me, this is the worst kind of news.

The boy is in stable condition with two broken legs and is expected to recover, but all I could think about while reading this was that I never want to take my children on a plane.

Though the boy's identity is yet unknown and it's certainly possible that he was traveling with family (the Afriqiyah Airways Airbus was almost full of Dutch tourists), it's also possible (likely, even) that he was traveling with his parents who are now dead.


I remember a story from my early childhood, maybe 1984 or 1985, when there was a plane crash in Turkey and one baby survived because his mother threw herself on top of him. Afterward, there was some speculation -- did she land there? Was she trying to save him or was it an accident? But to 5-year-old me, I knew she had thrown herself on top of him. And now that I'm a parent? I'm even more sure.

I realize it makes me paranoid, but every time I get onto a plane, I think about how trusting my children are and how they trust that we have their best interests at heart and that we'd never put them in a dangerous situation. But I also know that, unlike when I'm driving (badly, I might add), I'm not holding the wheel of the plane. It's out of my control.

For a Type A, crazy control-freak like myself, this isn't an acceptable way to fly.

To be honest, my son (22 months) has never flown and my daughter, 3, has only been on a couple. This is largely due to their age and the difficulties any parent encounters flying with very young children, but there's also a (small) part of me -- a person who's traveled all over the world and lived in four countries -- that feels safer with my family all on the ground.

I realize this is irrational and that planes are safer than cars. My head knows this. But try telling that to my incredibly irrational and paranoid heart that knows bad things can happen with little warning.

Obviously I'm not holding the family accountable for what happened to this boy. They just wanted him to have life experiences and travel like any good parents would, and keeping children and adults grounded because of paranoia isn't really an option. But these stories always give me pause. I hope that this boy will make a full recovery.

Does anyone limit their flying because of stories like these?

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