Ever since a Boeing 777 bound for Beijing went missing, the capital has been abuzz with theories about the plane.
Terrorism? Pilot error? A fatal mechanical malfunction? With each passing day and no sign of Malaysia flight MH370, speculation over the fate of the 239 passengers and crew on board — including 154 Chinese — only grows.
“I don’t want to think about. I don’t dare,” my Chinese teacher Cathy said last week, during a break in one of our lessons. Cathy prefers taking the train or riding in a car over flying because she feels safer on the ground, even though the statistics say otherwise.
“If you take one flight a day, you would on average need to fly every day for 55,000 years before being involved in a fatal crash,” M.I.T’s Sloan School Statistician Arnold Barnett told ABC News recently.
When we fly, we put our lives in the hands of strangers. We don’t know the pilots’ level of experience, whether they got eight hours of sleep the night before or went out drinking with friends. But we put our faith in them anyway because flying is the most convenient way to travel in the modern world.
My grandfather Ed had a hard time putting his faith in strangers when it came to flying. He preferred driving, and his logic was simple.
“In a car, if you have a problem you can pull over,” he told me once, during a particularly bumpy flight. “In a plane, you can’t do that.”