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What caused the crash?
Sunday, June 3 was a sad day in the annals of aviation in Nigeria. About 160 lives perished in an air crash in a densely populated area of Lagos. Among the dead were people in their homes, some of whom had probably never visited an airport before or seen the inside of an aeroplane. A few hours before, there were those who were very unhappy that they had missed the ill-fated flight, while others who had purchased their tickets at the last minute had considered themselves lucky that they had made it!
That is life. It is certainly not in our hands and when death comes knocking we must answer. For the dead, there is absolutely no more problem; no more sorrow; no more pain; no worries or anxiety about what tomorrow holds. The big burden is for those they have left behind. It is their headache how to bury their corpses if they can identify them and how they cope with the aftermath and uncertainties of life. May the souls of the departed rest in peace and may God console all those they have left behind. Amen.
I have been in a pensive mood since this sad event. What caused the crash? I wanted to know why the two engines of the aircraft failed at the same time. We need an answer because without knowing the reason we cannot take preventive measures. And that means it might happen again!
I am not an engineer but I have been trying to make a guess as to the probable causes of simultaneous failure of two engines. Do we ever have such a situation in the human body when the two eyes would fail suddenly? Sudden loss of part or all of one's vision, though rare, is usually a symptom of a major problem that may signify a serious ailment elsewhere in the body. Imagine you are driving at 100km per hour on the highway and suddenly everything goes blank! What a terrible crash could follow? Frightening! Isn’t it?
Most dramatic medical emergencies are caused by two things – an interruption of blood supply to an important organ or a disconnection of the signals responsible for initiation or maintenance of activities (nerves). Blood is to the eye what aviation fuel is to the engine of a plane. Any sudden interruption of the blood supply to the eyes even for a moment would lead to sudden loss of vision. The interruption does not necessarily have to be complete but just sufficient to affect the function of the retina.
But the question is, “Why should there be simultaneous disconnection in the blood supply to the two eyes?” Each eye receives its supply directly through the blood vessels from each side of the head. Such disconnection could happen in ocular migraine and in conditions called giant cell arteritis. Vision loss can also occur as a result of increased intracranial pressure. Hypertension can cause decreased circulation resulting in a “stroke” in the eyes. Recently, sudden interruption of blood flow to the eyes resulting in vision loss has also been attributed to sexual performance enhancing drugs such as Viagra, Cialis and Levitra.
If sudden loss of blood supply is a rare event, what about the nature of the blood itself? Could abnormality in the composition of blood (the fuel) cause sudden loss of vision in both eyes? Yes it could. However, like in the engine of a plane, it would not occur suddenly. There should have been early warning signs that things were not right. If these were ignored then the eyes (or engines of the plane) could suddenly pack up leading to a crash.
The more commonly occurring situation is usually one eye stops working while the other continues for a while.
Often the owner either might not know or simply ignored the fact because he could cope very well with one eye.
Then suddenly the other eye fails and darkness ensues. In the case of this terrible air crash, I would not be surprised if that was exactly the case. The alternative answer may be that the device responsible for the initiation, coordination and maintenance of activities - the computer failed.
The lesson we must take out of this is simple. If you find a disparity between one eye and the other, do something quick before you are thrown into darkness.Share