July 20th, 1989
Mum rang me at Pamsy’s last night, asking if we had heard about the United Airlines crash. Then she rang again this morning to see when I’d be home. Pamsy’s mum said she knows exactly how my mum feels and was reluctant to let her little boy, James go with Pamsy on her flights to and from Geneva today. She did eventually agree to let him go with his big sister, but when we left, she hugged the three of us really hard and had tears in her eyes.
This afternoon, Sebastian rang me at home and we talked about the crash. I think it’s something, as crew, we need to express our fears over. And even although we know such incidents are rare, when something of this magnitude occurs, it does bring it home in a brutal way.
Sebastian said Stephen was on his way to his after just having landed from Acapulco. We arranged to meet tonight and they came over to pick me up. We sat in the garden with mum and dad then came inside and watched the news before we went out.
Amazingly, several of the passengers escaped unscathed and were found wandering in the cornfields, adjacent to where the plane crash-landed. The number of souls lost hasn’t been confirmed yet but it’s been insinuated that the number is well over one hundred.
The cockpit was so compressed that the rescuers didn’t initially recognize it and it was thirty-five minutes after the crash before all four guys on the flight deck were rescued.
Apparently, due to a special the airline was running, United Airlines flight 232 had fifty-two children onboard, four of whom were babies on laps. The news is still slowly trickling out but the last segment we watched reported that more than ten children perished, including one baby.
Needless to say, the efforts of Captain Alfred C. Haynes and his crew are being touted as heroic.