Aircraft-assisted pilot suicides: Lessons to be learned

Alpo Vuorio, Tanja Laukkala, Pooshan Navathe, Bruce Budowle, Anne Eyre, Antti Sajantila

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

13 Scopus citations

Abstract

Aircraft assisted suicides were studied in the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, and Finland during 1956-2012 by means of literature search and accident case analysis. According to our study the frequency varied slightly between the studies. Overall, the new estimate of aircraft assisted suicides in the United States in a 20-yr period (1993-2012) is 0.33% (95% CI 0.21-0.49) (24/7244). In the detailed accident case analysis, it was found that in five out of the eight cases from the United States, someone knew of prior suicidal ideation before the aircraft assisted fatality. The caveats of standard medico-legal autopsy and accident investigation methods in investigation of suspected aircraft assisted suicides are discussed. It is suggested that a psychological autopsy should be performed in all such cases. Also the social context and possibilities of the prevention of aviation-related suicides were analyzed. In addition, some recent aircraft assisted suicides carried out using commercial aircraft during scheduled services and causing many casualties are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)841-846
Number of pages6
JournalAviation Space and Environmental Medicine
Volume85
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - 2014

Keywords

  • Aircraft
  • Aviation
  • Fatal
  • Forensic
  • Pilot
  • Suicide

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