The odds of being in an aviation accident is one in 1.2 million and a one in 11 million chance of it being fatal. Statistically, flying is safer than driving, but injury victims may have lasting effects. One such instance is when there was depressurization during a plane crash, and victims suffered from a lack of oxygen.
Depressurization may have caused private plane crash in Virginia
It’s believed that depressurization could have been the cause of the private plane crash that killed four in Virginia. Usually, each type of plane is designed for a specific cargo weight and maximum altitude. The private plane had an auto-pilot system that acted when the pilot became unresponsive and crashed because it had run out of gas.
What is hypoxia?
Hypoxia is a health condition that results from sustained oxygen deprivation. It occurs when there are low levels of oxygen in your body tissues. It causes difficulty breathing, coughing, confusion, rapid heart rate, headache, dizziness, euphoria, tunnel, sweating, restlessness, and reddish-to-bluish skin. You can be at risk for hypoxia due to certain heart and lung conditions. Loss of consciousness, seizures or convulsions, coma, and eventually death can result from severe hypoxia. Coma, seizures, and brain death occur after 5 minutes without oxygen.
What does hypoxia do to the body?
While many people can make a partial or full recovery from hypoxia, there can be lasting effects. Brain damage, such as cortical blindness, is an uncommon but known complication when the cerebral cortex experiences acute hypoxic damage. The severity of the effects depends on the area of the brain that was affected.
Watch for signs of hypoxia
Even with a well-maintained plane, warning signals that alert the pilot of decompression may not function correctly. Depressurization can occur so quickly that the pilot has maybe two minutes of good cognitive function before losing consciousness. It is up to all plane staff to be aware of the symptoms of hypoxia and deploy oxygen masks as soon as possible.
Depressurization on a plane is a frightening situation that requires both pilot and passenger to be cautious. People with conditions such as diabetes and sleep apnea are more at risk of severe effects from hypoxia.