Well, let’s get to it. Survival! What are my chances in a Lost situation? Not Bear Grylls, not that guy from Survivorman or the 2 people on that new show who have to survive together. Me. Or you. The typical person who’s survivor skills are limited occasional camping trips (or watching Man vs Wild on Discovery).
Note: this is not a guide to surviving. This is probability. Statistics is king. You find a gray mushroom and eat it. If it turns out 99% of gray mushrooms in that area are poisonous, your chances at living are pretty low.
Welcome to the Man vs Stats!
New here? Read the Intro.
First Test: Initiation
Survivors are not born; they are chosen. For whatever reason your plane comes down in the middle of nowhere hours after the pilots lose their bearings. Or your non-navigator buddies driving your friend’s dad’s yacht ends up plowing into a couple of rocks, Titanic-style. What are your chances of not dying immediately?
Plane survival is actually pretty likely. Great! Turns out worldwide accidents put survival rate at around 76%. In other words, 76% of people involved in crashes survive the initial crash.
Most crashes aren’t actually all that bad. The data is right-skewed; disregarding the 3 most catastrophic plane crashes puts the survival rate at around 95%. Another consideration is how technology has progressed. Most notably, superior radar and communications equipment drops in price, so that it becomes economical to equip even cheap aircraft with the good stuff. More good news!
However, polls indicate that roughly 60% of passengers disregard the emergency instructions. Additionally, crash survivors have noted that those who have perished happen to be the passengers who are sleeping, reading, or otherwise distracted. I like to watch movies or listen to music on long flights. Other people probably do too. In other words, I’d belong to the group of distracted passengers. First bad sign!
Fortunately, most flight accidents happen during takeoff or landing, so chances of a survivor situation after a plane crash are pretty low anyways.
Next up: Shipwrecked!