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Seat-Back Air Disaster Narrowly Avoided
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NEWARK, New Jersey - Family and friends of those aboard Continental Express flight 2955 expressed joy and relief Wednesday as the plane touched down and taxied safely. Concerns arose late in the flight when it was determined that the back of seat 12-A was damaged and could not be returned to its fully upright position. "My main concern was bringing that bird in safely," said pilot Warren O'Shaffey, still shaken from the experience, "I had to leave it to the cabin crew to maintain calm among the passengers. I don't know who had the tougher job."

"You have to stay focused, you can't panic," said stewardess Sarit Boynez, "If you panic, they'll panic. Until you're calm, they won't be calm. Several passengers saw me trying to get the seat to come up; a few even assisted me with it. When it was apparent that the seat back was not going to return to its fully upright position, that's when people started to seriously worry."

Evelyn Wong was one of the passengers on the ill-fated flight. "I was only going to Newark for one day, for a business meeting. I usually drive since I am so afraid of flying. But this was last minute and there was just no other option. But after this experience, I'm never setting foot on one of those death-traps again."

According to the National Transportation Safety Board, seat-back-malfunctions are the fourth leading cause of airline disasters. The top three -- accounting for 85% of all disasters -- are pilot error, mechanical malfunction, and tray tables.
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