On A Clear San Francisco Day... The Crash Of Asiana Flight 214
San Francisco International Airport October 30th, 2012
"How strange is this combination of proximity and seperation. That ground... seconds away...thousands of miles away."
~Charles A. Lindbergh
Yesterday, the San Francisco Bay Area was experiencing a beautiful, mild, summer day. There was a cool slight breeze, which was a very welcome relief from the searing temperatures of the previous 6 days. The heatwave had finally ended! It was beautiful out my office window, I couldn't stop looking at how the sun made the roses in my garden almost glow. Then it happened. The little bell on my cell phone alerted me that I had an ABC News Breaking News report... "An Asiana Plane Has Crashed At SFO." Oh my... how could that be true? On a day like this? I glanced out my window, and sure enough visibility across the bay was amazing. Clear blue sky, little to no wind. Perfect, except for a dark plume of smoke. How do things like this, happen on days like this?
I turned on the news and saw the horrific pictures from the crash site, but this time there were also pictures of folks not only walking away, but one person had her carry on bag, and her handbag with her! The next few hours consisted mostly of following along with the reports on CNN, ABC and Twitter. Just seeing the shape the plane looked so bad, it was hard to believe anyone could have survived, let alone literally walk away from the crash. As the day wore on we learned that the injured had been transported to hospitals throughout the Bay Area, and nearly half as many lost their luggage, but escaped the crash uninjured! Uninjured?! A true miracle! Well, except for 2 sixteen year old girls who were thrown from the back of the plane upon impact.
While watching the coverage I couldn't help but think about last October, when Alan and I were fortunate enough to be able to fly directly over SFO when we took an aerial tour of the San Francisco skyline and bay for our anniversary. Our pilot, Captain Dan, told us that it was highly unusual to be able to fly directly over the airport, but on this day there was very little sky traffic due to Hurricane Sandy. It had not occurred to me that a storm on the east coast would effect flights at SFO so profoundly. I learned a lot from Captain Dan that day, I wouldn't trade that experience for the world. I have had a lifelong fear of flying, but for whatever reason I was intrigued about flying in the single engine Cessna, and jumped at the opportunity. I wasn't even a little bit scared, indeed it will remain one of my favorite adventures shared with Alan.
I thought about that adventure while watching the news, and just knew I had to go see the crash for myself. When Alan got home, he and I made the trek across the bay to Bayfront Park in Milbrea. The park sits just south of the airport and directly across the small inlet of water, from runway 28 L (Left) where the crash occurred.
Here is what I saw...
Asiana Flight 214 SFO July 6th, 2013
The Tower At SFO
And Finally A Lufthansa Flight Waiting On The Runway To Depart. It Was A Moment Of Normal, As The Airport Had Been Closed To All Traffic Since The Crash Occurred.
Finally, Here Are Some Google Maps Images To Give You An Idea Of The Runaway Where The Crash Happened...
"Both optimists and pessimists contribute to our society. The optimist invents the airplane, and the pessimist the parachute."
I have shared with you before that my father was an aircraft mechanic, and he was also someone who refused to fly... period. When I was a little girl I asked him why he hated the thought of flying, when he worked on planes every single day? My dad, being the straightforward honest man that he was, simply smiled and said... "Because I know which bolt has to fall off the plane to bring the whole thing down." LOL. It was a sound argument that gave me chills for years, and possibly could have fed my fear of air travel. But by the time I was 20 I had been in 3 car accidents, one of which the car rolled and ejected my brother through the windshield. His wisdom rang true, but so did the statistics that air travel is still the safest way to get from here... to... there.
Don't worry, I wasn't the driver of the car in any of the accidents, but I did decide one day, not all that long ago, that I wanted to take the fear by the horns and lose that unnecessary baggage from my being. Last October, there I was, up in the air, flying along in a small single engine plane, having the time of my life! And even after this disaster, I would like to do that again one day, only maybe on a day with a little more wind so I can feel what less than perfect conditions are like. It's the only way to take the fear out of the fear. Experience it! But the thing I can't seem to get past tonight is the fact that those two young ladies who were killed today, who were so young, made it safely through a 10 1/2 hour flight, only to perish in the last 10 seconds before they touched down.
It's so sad. And something I won't forget. Especially when I remember that conversation with dad.