Saturday, 14 February 2009

In the News

My daughter is safe.
Thank God.
She and her fiancée were going 'home' for the weekend, to Buffalo yesterday.
Her fiancée, Joe, works for Continental airlines, and they typically fly out of Newark, to Buffalo, on the small commuter jets run by the subsidiary company, Colgan. The flight takes about 50 minutes once in the air, and is a very inexpensive and fast way for them to get to Buffalo.

My husband woke me last night at about 5:00 am to break the news to me that one of Continental's planes had crashed in Clarence, just about five miles from the Buffalo airport.
He didn't know that my daughter, Elizabeth, and her fiancée Joe, was traveling to Buffalo for the weekend.

In shock, and disbelief, I was up instantly but without comprehension of what I was doing.
Trying to locate her new mobile phone number and shaking uncontrollably, I stuttered that she and Joe were on the plane.

We take it for granted that the commuter flights are safe; they are so frequent between Buffalo and Newark. I hadn't even asked her which flight she was taking. All I knew was that she said they were leaving late in the day.
There is a late afternoon flight that leaves around 4pm. Being a weekday, it would be full of business persons returning to Buffalo, or, making connections to Toronto.
The kids must fly stand-by and would have been bumped to the doomed flight if the 4:00 flight they wanted was full.
But all this was meaningless; all I could think of was that she and Joe were on the flight that crashed.

My darling Jim remained calm and located the elusive phone number and dialed it for me. I never could have done it - my hands and whole body were shaking.

I was so very frightened that the phone would go immediately to her voice mail.
But when she answered, I was never so happy to hear anyone's voice in my life.
Although relieved, relief would not be instant: my uncontrollable shaking would not stop for another 30 minutes or so.

Elizabeth and Joe had driven to Buffalo from Brooklyn, risking winter weather driving conditions, journeying for over 7 hours when they could have been there in less than an hour.
And I thanked God for that decision.

She knew something was wrong from the sound of my voice, and she immediately panicked thinking it was someone here who was ill.
She hadn't yet heard of the crash and we were breaking the news to her from over 3,000 miles away. We spoke for a little bit and then she had to go as her phone had a call waiting.
She was up most of the evening with people ringing her to check to make sure she was all right.

I was up all night as I just couldn't go back to sleep and I turned to CNN to keep me updated on the events as they unfolded throughout the day.

I understand just how the victims' families feel with a sense of disbelief, pain, and shock at their losses. The only difference is that my experience had a happy ending. But during the moments of panic before I knew she had not boarded the ill fated plane, I was walking in their shoes; unaware of what lay ahead and just how I was going to ever live without my beautiful daughter and her loving fiancée.
My heart truly goes out to all of the families involved, as my prayers are with them, and will remain so as time passes.

1 comment:

ShabbyInTheCity said...

Oh my gosh! How harrowing! I used to work for American Airlines. I know the whole standby routine. So glad your kids are safe :) Yes, thank God!