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Plane Crash Aided by Flame Retardants

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

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Jetliner improvements, such as flame-retardant materials in seats and carpeting, may have bought many passengers the extra time needed to escape the Asiana Airline crash July 6 at San Francisco International Airport, according to various news reports.

Three of the 307 passengers aboard Flight 214 died after the Boeing 777 from Seoul crashed while landing. More than 180 people were treated for injuries, including two who were paralyzed.

Photos and video posted on the Internet showed black smoke and flames coming from the roof of the mangled South Korean aircraft.

Interior of Asiana flight
National Transporation Safety Board

Seats and carpet treated with improved fire-resistant materials helped many passengers survive the Asiana Airlines' crash on July 6, according to reports, citing experts.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the crash.

Escaping Death

Jetliner improvements, such as new fire-resistant materials used on seats and carpeting in the plane’s cabin, “likely helped the fire from intensifying so quickly” and gave passengers more time to evacuate before flames engulfed the aircraft, aviation safety experts told the Wall Street Journal.

In addition, a former director of the office of accident investigation at the Federal Aviation Administration told the New York Times that “flame-retardant materials inside the plane…most likely helped protect many passengers.”

Asiana Airlines
National Transportation Safety Board

Three of 307 passengers aboard Flight 214 died after the Boeing 777 from Seoul crashed while landing. The victims were identified as Ye Mengyuan, Wang Linjia, and Liu Yipeng, reports said.

The FAA has required the use of such materials for decades, the news outlet reported.

Not the First Time

“This is not the first time that flame-retardant materials have played a role in helping passengers escape a plane crash,” the American Chemistry Council’s North American Flame Retardant Alliance said in an anouncement after the 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,” the organization said.

Flame-retardant chemicals are sometimes added to building materials, including foam insulation.


Tagged categories: American Chemistry Council; Coatings technology; Construction chemicals; Flame-retardant coatings

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