The world has woken up this morning to the news that the infamous ‘Curse of Row 13′ has struck the aviation industry again, after an Emirates Boeing 737 crashed on its approach to Dubai airport last night. Among the victims was British businessman Martin Braithwaite, 53, from Bromley, who had deliberately sat in Row 13 on a stubborn stand of principle against what he called ‘superstitious rubbish’.
‘It began on our honeymoon flight to St Lucia, 23 years ago,’ said Braithwaite’s grieving widow, Sheila. ‘We were assigned to seats 13 D and E and I wanted to move because I thought that would be unlucky, but Martin scoffed and told me not to be silly. When we got off, he just chuckled and said “Told you so”. For most of the 200 or so business trips he did after that, he would ask to go in Row 13, then ring me up after he arrived and say “I survived yet again”. Now his crazy bravado has cost him his life.’
Although some statisticians doubt it, most people remain convinced that Row 13 of any aircraft is doomed to bring bad luck on the passengers who sit in it. As widely documented on Facebook and Twitter, of the 53 commercial airliners involved in fatal crashes since 2004, all but 21 had a Row 13 and all of those sat in that row were killed. Now activists are calling on the industry to show more responsibility for passenger safety.
The other victims of Row 13 on the flight from Bahrain were French refrigeration engineer Lucien Aubry in Seat 13A, whose attitude to the curse is not known, two brothers from Bahrain, where the number is not considered unlucky, in Seats 13 C and D, and a Malaysian couple in Seats 13 E and F. Also killed were nine members of crew and 172 other passengers in Rows 1-12 and 14-28.