Virgin Galactic pilot Peter Siebold defied the odds to survive deadly crash


This story is oddly similar to one that happened in 1966, when an SR-71 broke apart at 78,000 feet, travelling at Mach 3.2. One of the two pilots miraculously survived. You can read his first-hand account here.

Yeah, but he did have a parachute. Kinda cheating, really.


“Defied the odds” suggests that direct action was the primary cause of Siebold’s survival.

“Got extremely lucky” is probably much more accurate.

Why wouldn’t avoiding probable death, even by mere “passive resistance”, count as defying the odds?

Empirically, the odds would appear to be about 50:50.


Where are you getting this phrase passive resistance from? Why are you putting it in quotation marks?

Defying the odds is where you are defiant of the odds. Han Solo choosing to fly into the asteroid field with the odds against successful navigation being three thousand seven hundred twenty to one is defying the odds, because he actively defies them.

Hitting the eject button and parachuting to safety is not defying the odds, because it’s actually the route that provides the best odds of surviving your aircraft disintegrating around you - which is the exact opposite of defiance of the odds, perhaps described as accordance with the odds.

It usually means being stay put in a place, and fighting by not fighting. Quotation marks signify here a somewhat metaphorical use of the phrase - in this case not sitting in a place and letting the riot cops carrying me away, but sitting in a falling-apart cockpit (likely too stunned to react) and letting the blind luck and aerodynamics carrying me away.

These two paragraphs look mutually exclusive to me.

Either Han was going in accordance with the odds, given that the alternative was being shot down or captured.

Or, escaping a doomed aircraft - whether actively (ejection, or jumping out), or passively (being thrown out), counts as defying the odds because the chance of survival even with these options being available is not exactly great.

Whatever you do, including doing nothing (forfeiting your move, whether by intention or by being incapacitated), allows you to stack bonuses for the saving roll. Then the Fate rolls the dice, and they have the last word.

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