The crash of flight 212 comes into my consciousness from time to time. These days it’s usually Stephen Colbert who takes me back to that time. After Stephen became famous and I became a huge fan of his, I learned that he lost two brothers and his father in that deadly crash.
The crash was (and is) particularly poignant for me because my first husband and I were working for Eastern Airlines at the time, in Charlotte, where the doomed flight went down. I worked in reservations. My now ex-husband worked in the computer lab.
Flight 212 originated in Charleston, SC, landed briefly in Charlotte, NC, and continued to O’Hare in Chicago. Usually a number of passengers disembarked in Charlotte and made connections to destinations other than Chicago.
I remember that morning in September as if it were yesterday. Ironically, the crash occurred on September 11, in 1974. It was a foggy morning. Poor visibility. I remember a loud boom and a bit of a tremor. I wondered, “What on earth was that?” It was a few minutes later, in my car, when I heard the news on the radio. All I could think was, “No, no, no, no, no!”
Then, I couldn’t help asking myself, “Did I book any of those people on that flight?” Fortunately, I don’t know the answer to that question. Flight 212 was a busy and popular flight. Most reservations agents had booked someone at some time on 212. Best not to dwell on it.
The flight left Charleston with seventy-four people on board. Initially there were thirteen survivors. Later three of those thirteen died of severe burns. A co-pilot and a flight attendant were among the final ten survivors.
For days, then weeks, airline employees and others sifted through the sad traces of human life cut short. Some worked the morgue.
I write this piece to honor those workers. My husband was one of them. He worked tirelessly and without complaint. I don’t know if I ever thanked him. I do so now. Thank you, JDM.
NTSB probable cause statement:
The flight crew’s lack of altitude awareness at critical points during the approach due to poor cockpit discipline in that the crew didn’t follow prescribed procedure. Source: Wikipedia
What a sad, sad statement.
Hi Pat. Was this your last post? WP seems to have taken you off my Reader, don’t know why. Hope you are OK, and look forward to reading more posts. Hugs Cat xx
Hi Cat. It’s so nice to hear from you. This was my last post. I have written dozens of posts in my mind. I simply haven’t put them in print. I think I still have some things I want to say but I’m not getting it done. Honestly, I’ve been horribly depressed since last November’s election. I still can’t believe that many people would vote for tRump. (I borrowed that name from someone on Twitter, I think.) I find it appropriate. When BREXIT passed in Britain, I said out loud “This is a bad omen. This means DT could win the presidency.” Republicans are very slow to call him out but a few have done so in the last few days. They could remove him. I hope they do it before he blows us all up.
I won’t rant any more. Don’t give up on me. I need to write. I want to write. Soon….
Your piece is riveting. I too didn’t know SC lost his parents, and to think he’s such a funny man. Humor does sire from pain, but wow…what a story. Thanks
Well hello there Madam…how nice to see your pretty face. It’s been such a long time. Hope all is well in your wonderful world. Susannah
What a sad memory of that other 9/11 tragedy in 1974. So many connections you’ve made through writing this …….. ❤
Hi Pat, it is so terrible that the crew did not follow prescribed procedures. Wikipedia says also something about the severity of burns:
“During the investigation the issue of the flammability of passengers’ clothing materials came up. There was evidence that passengers who wore double-knit artificial-fiber clothing articles sustained significantly worse burn injuries during the post-crash fire than passengers who wore articles made from natural fibers.”
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It is so very sad. And Uta, since this report first came out, I think about what kind of clothing I’m wearing before I go to the airport. So many things about this disaster made an impression on me.
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Thank you for this reminder, Pat. I never knew Stephen Colbert lost his father and brothers in this tragedy.
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