I just saw this question about humans surviving terminal velocity free-falls, sometimes even with little injury depending on the surface conditions, particularly over forests, hills, or thick snow cover.
That made me wonder, if a passenger of:
- a large commercial aircraft, perhaps a Boeing 737
- crashing from 5000 meters or higher
- above a large forest or thick snow
had the choice between free falling and buckling up to crash with the aircraft, which option would offer him the greatest chance of surviving?
I'm thinking the plane might offer lower falling speed, and physical protection, but also pose the dangers of giant engines, explosions, and crushed metal / shrapnel. Perhaps the answer is that over a forest, the free fall could be safer, and over snow the plane could be safer, but that's pure speculation on my part.