Thursday, October 9, 2008

Book Review - The Unthinkable

I'm reading a fairly interesting book right now - "The Unthinkable - Who Survives When Disaster Strikes - And Why" by Amanda Ripley.

The author "offers a compelling look at instinct and disaster response as she explores the psychology of fear and how it can save or destroy us."

It's interesting to read about what causes some people to survive and others to perish. Panic and fear can turn a "simple" problem into disaster. One story that proves this point...an airplane was getting ready to land and the light that goes on to indicate that the landing gear was safely down - did not light up. They abandoned the landing and flew around trying to figure out the problem. They tried to get a visual check on the landing gear but that didn't work.

While they are trying to figure out the problem an alarm goes off every couple of seconds warning of a change in altitude. According to the investigators listening to tapes from the flight later - no one in the cockpit acknowledges or questions the alarm. Finally someone notices a problem and the investigators hear "did we do something to the altitude?" About 3 seconds later the airplane crashed into a mountain.

They found out later that there was no problem with the landing gear - only a light bulb had burned out, but the pilots were so focused on the problem (tunnel vision) that they ignored a much greater problem...flying off track and at a lower altitude.

Let's hope that our government leaders do not become so focused on one issue - that they ignore the warning bells for an even more serious situation.

2 comments:

CanadianGrandma said...

Fear can make a person do things that they normally wouldn't do. Some fear is good, but not when it consumes you.

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