On the night of Nov. 28 a charter plane hurled into a mountainside south of Medellin, Colombia’s second-largest city. Of the 77 people aboard, all but six died. One of the survivors, flight technician Erwin Tumiri, believes that following normal airline safety protocols saved his life.
While many passengers stood up from their seats and screamed, he told local media, he tucked a bag between his legs and “went into the fetal position as recommended in crashes.” The so-called “brace position” is recommended by many airlines, but many have questioned its effectiveness. Tumiri said he was certain he survived because he “followed the safety protocols.”
No doubt luck played a role in his survival as well. It’s clear from the smashed wreckage that many passengers would have perished no matter what measures they took.
The plane was carrying the Brazilian soccer club Chapecoense, a small-market team that had beat the odds to reach the Copa Sudamericana, a major club competition. The team was on its way to play in the first leg of the final.
Besides Tumiri, the other survivors included three players, another crew member, and one journalist.
The plane’s pilot told air traffic controllers he had run out of fuel, after skipping a scheduled refueling stop in Bogotá.