By Fred Johnson
As we know, the last two attempts by terrorists to bomb an airliner were stopped by passengers who tackled the “shoe Bomber” and the “Underwear Bomber” as they attempted to setoff their devices. Investigation showed that the terrorists should never have been allowed on the planes because relatives had warned they were radicalized or they purchased one way tickets with cash and no luggage.
Now, after the crash of Asiana flight 214, we learn that passengers are pretty much on their own after an airline crash. The NTSB reports that after the crash landing, passengers were told to stay seated while the crew contacted the control tower for instructions. After a fire was spotted outside the windows, a flight attendant went up to the front of the cabin to let them know that there was fire and they needed to evacuate. At that point, the doors were opened and escape slides were inflated. Several passengers were trapped in their seats by jammed seat belts. As you know, passengers are not allowed to carry a pocket knife, so they remained trapped in their seats in a burning plane until other passengers were able to borrow a knife from a fireman.
After deplaning, passengers began calling 911 to ask where the ambulances were. ABC reports that the release of 911 tapes reveal that plane crash survivors waited 18 minutes for First Responders. One caller told the 911 dispatcher that she had been on the ground for 20-30 minutes: “There are people laying on the tarmac with critical injuries, head injuries. We’re almost losing a woman here. We’re trying to keep her alive … we’ve been on the ground and not seen one ambulance the whole time.”
San Francisco officials explain that in multi-casualty accidents, ambulances are initially sent to a staging area while first responders assess the victims’ needs. Victims are then taken by ambulances as needed. They added that ambulances could not come too close out of concern that the plane would explode. So passengers were on their own to deal with the situation while bureaucrats dotted the i’s and crossed the t’s.
The TSA got into the act by conducting a series of screenings and spent hours interviewing crash survivors. They also screened the loved ones who were waiting for the passengers. To get into the boarding area to meet up with the passengers, loved ones were interviewed, searched and vetted by TSA officials. The vetting included checking that family names matched up and that the passengers knew the people trying to get through the security area. Some crash survivors waited for as long as five hours to be reunited with panicked friends and family.
Those who are confident that the government can run our healthcare system should take note of the government response to the crash of Asiana flight 214.