What Being in a Plane Crash is Like

"Twenty-five years after the catastrophe, a dramatic and extraordinarily rare 360-degree view of the crash of a fully loaded jumbo jet."

#Literature

Tue, Jul 29th, 2014 20:00 by capnasty NEWS

Salon has this excerpt from Laurence Gonzales' Flight 232, a Story of Disaster and Survival, collecting the experiences and recollections of the 184 surviving passengers.

Griffin had been meditating. He felt no fear, even though he could feel how unusually fast the plane was going. “And when we hit the runway,” Griffin recalled, “my seat belt pops.” He was stunned for a second, free in his seat, and he turned to look at Michael Kielbassa on his right.

“If this is as bad as it gets,” Griffin said, “we’ll be okay.”

It took but a second. When he turned to look forward toward Le Beau, as he later recalled, “the plane’s disintegrating. Everything’s starting to turn gray, because of the particles and whatever parts of the plane are falling apart. And it’s getting hard to breathe.” The cockpit was separating from the rest of the plane, and angels of fire were roaring around the open tube of the fuselage, even as the first class cabin began tearing away from the remainder of the craft. As fire bloomed in the air, it consumed all the oxygen. Griffin could feel himself suffocating and could feel the air heating up around him, as the fire from the fuel spraying out behind him moved forward and expanded into a deflagrating cloud. Looking ahead, he could distinguish less and less of the structure of the airplane, as the identifiable parts—the bulkhead, the galley, the jump seats for the flight attendants— were being transformed into dust. Griffin watched it all with detachment.

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