When you fly, even if you're a jaded, experienced traveller, and know how to hide your notebook computer under your jacket when the flight attendant looks at you, please put it away. Stow your carry on baggage completely and don't hold heavy objects during takeoff and landing. Fasten your seatbelt tightly. Pay rapt attention to the safety briefing and any instructions from the flight attendants. I understand that a certain joking fatalism is a common defense mechanism to avoid thinking about what could happen, but it's better to think and be prepared. There are survivable airplane crashes. Here's a B737 torn apart by impact forces, but the only death associated is suspected to be a heart attack and not the immediate result of injuries sustained. There was no fire, and clearly the nearest emergency exit to many people would be the gaping hole where the fuselage ended, so no one was trapped.
I don't have any information on what happened to cause that crash. It sounds like they might have encountered a sudden downdraft. I'll try to follow up when the investigation reports a result.
Another story, related only in that it takes place in Colombia has a reader of this blog flying as a passenger in Colombia, in what he thought was a small pressurized airplane, about ten to fifteen passengers on board. And it was raining inside the plane. It's not clear if it was raining outside and leaking or if there was condensation leaking out of the headliners, but the folks in the back were getting wet. A passenger yelled up to the cockpit that it was raining inside and we were all going to die. The FO turned around and his enraged response was, "Callate por favor! Tenemos problemas mas grande aqui al frente ... no podemos ver nada, hay montañas en todas partes aca y hemos perdido contacto con... ."
I'll give the Spanish speakers a chance to gasp and or laugh at that while the others can wonder what they'd think about the FO yelling incoherently at them. He was yelling, "Would you please shut up! We've got bigger problems up front ... we can't see anything, there's mountains everywhere, and we've lost contact with ..."
The person who told me that story says he prayed until a safe landing and never again took a "non-reputable" airline in South America. Ironically, the day before he had read a very similar account in a story from 1945. Some things never change.
It's not that people in Colombia cannot fly safely, maintain airplanes safely or do everything else to any arbitrary safety standard. There is no absolute safety, only a level that you choose to maintain. It's just that the normal level of what is generally considered to be 'sufficiently safe' is different from place to place. The roads in different countries aren't built to the same standards; South American buses are a cliché. A lot of it is money: money for parts, inspection, training, maintenance and infrastructure too. It would cost the same amount of money to build and maintain one road to US department of highway standards as it costs Colombia to build and maintain any number of roads. The degree of safety in any organization is balanced between money available, regulatory pressures, regulator oversight, competition on price, customer demands, and inertia of the current practices and procedures. In any organization you get the safety you work and pay for. There are freak accidents, yes, but there are also freak 'almost accidents' that warn alert companies of the possibility of actual ones.