Skip to comments.What People Look Like When Their Plane Is About to Crash
Posted on 05/19/2011 12:17:23 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet
If you're afraid of flying, reading this post may or may not make it worse. On one hand it describes a story about the smell of a burning plane engine, the expressions of encumbered panic and the experience of coming to terms with death. On the other hand, everybody lives!
Reuters photographer Beiwharta had just started to fall asleep on a flight with his family from Singapore to Jakarta when two loud bangs jolted him into a frightening reality. Based on Beiwharta's account of what came next, the activity on a crashing plane is just like you might imagine. The smell of acrid smoke stung nostrils. The flight attendants break routine and rush the food carts down the aisle. The lights go out. The flaming engine serves as a horrifying view out the window. And you wonder what it's like to die. Beiwharta wrote:
During my many years of assignments as a Reuters photojournalist, when flying I have imagined being on a plane that had a problem that forced an emergency landing, and then taking pictures. But I never imagined this situation with my family. But it happened. We will die together, so we can fly to heaven together, I thought. If we die together, I will not miss my wifes delicious cooking, I will not miss the smell of my kids sweat. There will be no tears among us. My thoughts, to my surprise, stopped me being afraid any more.
Beiwharta's thoughts lead him to reach for the camera hanging around his neck. Conditions were less than ideal but managed to capture one passenger praying. ""Behind us, passengers were praying: 'God, save our flight! Give us your protection!'" Beiwharta said.
Another shot shows relative calm in the shadow of what appears to be the engine flaming outside of a window.
The Airbus A330 successfully landed in Singapore, and Beiwharta captured the evacuation in better lighting.
Passengers walked off the plane without incident and the captain told them soon thereafter, "The best that we can ever ask of passengers is to stay cool, stay calm ... which you did. And for that we thank you."
According to an airplane safety expert, the uncontained explosion and open flames that Beiwharta saw out the window are "rare."
Along with the airline, Singaporean authorities will lead an investigation into the photographers flight, Cathay Pacific CX 715, in order to discover the cause of the fire. Airbus and engine manufacturer Rolls-Royce will cooperate.
I've seen more emotion and panic when its announced that it's 10:58 and in two minutes McDonalds will no longer serve food from the breakfast menu.
Is that the same McDonalds where someone called 9-1-1 because they couldn’t get Chicken McNuggets?
Agreed. But I do like how it shows that people don’t behave the way it would be depicted in a Hollyweird movie.
Thanks for posting this. I found the story moving and the pictures very interesting.
The photog should have barged into the bathrooms to catch the people having “we’re going to die” sex, like in the movies!
Being a passenger is very strange. You can’t do a darn thing but wait and hope.
I had three bail-outs during my skydiving days, but the scariest event was when a pilot aborted the takeoff and started braking hard-hard-hard. I’ve never seen people put on helmets in such a hurry.
“We have just lost cabin pressure.”
That monk is Joe Isuzu - - I think it was his first movie.
I’ve been on one flight in very bad weather where I really think all the passengers thought they were gonna die. Everyone was very subdued and quiet although the twin turbo-prop was getting tossed around like a plastic Wal-mart sack in a wind storm. No doubt many were saying their silent prayers as was I. What still mystifies me to this day is that the whole event took on a surreal almost slow motion feel to it as if I were observing the whole thing from a third person’s viewpoint. It was almost like my soul was observing the situation and getting ready to separate from my body as soon as the crash occurred. Thankfully, by the grace of God and the skills of our pilot we landed safely.
I saw similar when an engine blew on an A320 from BOS to ORD. The engine had a loud bang and then looked like a comet with a 25 ft tail of white sparks. Everyone remained calm. The pilot turned off the ground communications channel (ch 9 on United) to the cabin so we couldn’t listen. We still had one engine but Grand Rapids airport was shut down for us to land at. (Presumably much cheaper than shutting down O’Hare)
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