For those unfamiliar with the latest news in aviation, an Air Canada flight came down at Halifax International Airport on Sunday in what I personally refer to as a “successful crash”. Airline media relations like to call it a “hard landing”. I’m sure the passengers aboard would agree with my description since the pilot attempted to navigate the runway with no landing gear, no nose on the plane and short one engine. The plane slid along the runway to a stop and passengers were able to exit the plane to safety. There were more than two dozen sent to hospital with minor injuries but the end result was no casualties. In lieu of what we have been watching recently about the German Airlines tragic ending, this story has a relatively positive outcome.
The crash is under investigation and veteran pilots are already pointing the finger to pilot error unless the engines were not receiving full power. It is too early to tell anything beyond the fact that the captain and his co-pilot are currently the only people who are responsible for bringing the troubled plane to the ground and sparing the lives of their passengers and crew.
I read a disturbing story today that some passengers are already threatening to sue Air Canada. Just days after the tragedy of the German flight being piloted straight into the side of the Alps, these passengers’ perspective seems to have crashed and burned as well. Their plane, although potentially mishandled, was brought down safely in high wind gusts and snow after the landing gear was sheared off because the plane hit some antennas. The one hundred and forty-nine passengers and crew of Germanwings were not so lucky.
Yes…your flight crash landed, but you survived. Yes……you unfortunately had to stand on the runway for an hour before being shuttled into the airport. No, I don’t think that is acceptable and no, I wasn’t on the plane and don’t know the terror you certainly experienced. But nobody has to make a call to your family to say you didn’t make it. Nobody has to guide your loved ones through the pain of knowing they will never have a body, or even fragments of a body, to bury to give them a sense of peace and closure. You are alive to tell the tale and you, unlike so many others, will live to see another day. Your family does not have to spend countless hours wondering what happened to your flight because you did not disappear without a trace, never to be seen again.
Perhaps the thing that irritated me the most and began this tyrannical rant is that one of the passengers made a flip comment about taking “plane crash” off their bucket list. I had to close the page of the interview. Who, in their right mind, has plane crash on their bucket list and who can be so flippant with such a crass statement shortly after 149 people tragically lost their lives only days earlier and many other missing flights loaded with passengers and crew will never be found? The light bulb that was my hope for humanity has been alarmingly dimmed today.
Perhaps those passengers threatening to sue were still in shock and merely making a rash judgement. I can only hope that if the lawsuits go ahead and money is awarded to the victims of the unfortunate landing in Halifax that they will look back on the events of devastation that have happened within air travel over the past few years and use that money to set up a fund to aid families who have lost loved ones. Winning a cash reward for surviving would be such a monumental slap in the face of the families who are still grieving and to those who will never get the answer to the question of what really happened to their loved ones.