WASHINGTON, 16 July 2013. Flame-retardant materials played a vital role in helping the passengers survive Asiana Airline’s crash in San Francisco this month, according to subject-matter experts.
“Expert commentary and news reports about the Asiana Airline crash are crediting flame-retardant materials, in part, with providing passengers on that flight with valuable escape time before flames engulfed the plane,” says a spokesperson at the American Chemistry Council’s North American Flame Retardant Alliance in Washington, D.C.
The New York Times, in its article “2 Die and Many Are Hurt as Plane Crashes in San Francisco”, quoted Steven B. Wallace, director of the office of accident investigation at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) from 2000 to 2008, as saying: “Flame retardant materials inside the plane, including foil wrapping under the seats, most likely helped protect many passengers.”
The Wall Street Journal, in a blog titled “Asiana Crash Shows Disasters Are More Survivable”, notes: “Stronger seats that stay bolted down against extreme forces coupled with flame retardant materials help passengers survive the initial impact in many crash landings and gives them time to evacuate before fire engulfs cabins.”
“This is not the first time that flame-retardant materials have played a role in helping passengers escape a plane crash. Experts credited flame-retardant materials, among other advancements, for helping to save 309 people during an Air France crash in Toronto in 2005. These real-life examples underscore the research that shows that flame retardant materials can be effective in slowing the spread of fire and providing critical escape time, not only in airplanes, but in cars, homes and offices.
“While scientific advancements improved the circumstances around the disaster, it is still a terrible tragedy, in which two people lost their lives and many others were injured. Our thoughts and prayers go out to those affected by this crash,” the Alliance concludes.