The crash of Asiana Airlines flight 214 in San Francisco on Saturday killed two people. Given the circumstances, it could have been much, much worse.
The last fatal commercial flight in the U.S. was on Feb. 12, 2009, when 50 people were killed in the crash of Colgan Air Flight 3407 near Buffalo, N.Y.
The last fatal flight of a major U.S. airline was on Nov. 12, 2001, when 265 people were killed in the crash of American Airlines Flight 587 shortly after takeoff from John F. Kennedy Airport in New York.
Number of people killed in U.S. traffic accidents since the last fatal commercial crash in the U.S.: approximately 143,200.*
Number of people killed in U.S. traffic accidents since the last fatal major U.S. airline crash in the U.S.: approximately 442,600.**
Number of U.S. newspapers, TV networks, etc., that did not feature Asiana Airlines flight 214 crash as its top story: approximately zero.
One definition of “news” is an event that is anomalous. In that regard, the Asiana crash was certainly that. But the more common definition of “news” is an event that is, on some level, extremely noteworthy. Does the Asiana crash meet this standard? If so, why?
* Click here for NHTSA’s year-by-year fatality count; this estimate includes 10 months of 2009 traffic fatalities, a preliminary 2012 figure from NHTSA, and for 2013 a partial (six-month) tally based on slightly less than half of the 2012 fatalities.
** Includes all traffic fatalities from Jan. 1, 2002 onward, calculated per * note above.