Despite what the so-called sceptics might have to say, the world has woken up this morning to the news that the infamous 'Curse of Row 13' has struck again, after a Malaysian Airlines Boeing 737 crashed on its approach to Kuala Lumpur airport last night. And, tragically, among the victims was British businessman Martin Braithwaite, 53, from Bromley, who had sat in Row 13 wherever possible during his travels on a stubborn stand of principle against what he called 'superstitious rubbish'.
'It began on our honeymoon flight to St Lucia 25 years ago,' Braithwaite's grieving widow, Sheila, told reporters. '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. 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 when he got there and say "I survived the Curse of Row 3 again!". Now his crazy bravado has cost him his life.'
Although some statisticians have cast doubt on it, most people remain convinced that Row 13 of any aircraft is doomed to bring bad luck on passengers. As was widely documented on Facebook and Twitter last year, of the last 50 commercial airliners involved in fatal crashes since 2004, all but 21 had a Row 13 and all of those sat in that row on the final flight were killed. Now activists are calling on the aviation industry to show more responsibility towards passenger safety.
The other victims of Row 13 on the flight from Bahrain are understood to include French refrigeration engineer Lucien Aubry in Seat 13A, whose attitude to the curse is not known, a couple from Qatar, where the number is not even considered to be unlucky, in Seat 13 C, and a Malaysian family in Seats 13 D-F. Also killed were nine members of crew and 172 other passengers in Rows 1-12 and 14-28.