Monday, July 21, 2014

Plane crash during Alaska trip.

News coverage yesterday of the 25th anniversary of the crash of the DC-10 in Sioux City, Iowa, brought back memories. Of the 296 people aboard, on the United flight from Denver to Chicago, 112 died of injuries. As the plane made a shallow right turn over Iowa,  the fan disk in the tail engine disintegrated and ruptured the planes hydraulic systems. The pilots had very little control of the plane but managed to circle until they were able to approach the Sioux City airport. The Omaha World Herald  quoted coverage of the exchange of the pilot and air traffic controllers for nearly an hour before it crashed at the airport. Fortunately 184 survived and the accident provided an example of how to handle such an emergency. Elaine and I had left Seward in our Pickup on June 19, 1989 on a camping trip to Alaska.  By July 19 we were at Fairbanks,  and preparing to travel over gravel roads to Chicken and on to Dawson to pick up the Alaskan Highway. We left the campground early on the morning of the 20th to purchase hail screen to put on the front of the truck. It was at the Hardware store that TV coverage showed the plane cartwheeling across the runways, breaking apart in the process, and finally coming to a stop. It was not known at that time the extent of fatalities but it was frightening. Our next stop was the Santa Claus house at the North Pole, but it was a very solemn visit. Incidentally, the hail screen intercepted a few rocks that would have been damaging. We left it on until we got back to Seward, NE on August 4th. It was a once in a lifetime adventure.

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