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How I very nearly died.

post #1 of 30
Thread Starter 
I thought I would mark my return to the forum with a short story of my very nearly dying on the flight home from university on Saturday. So, I am in Detroit, waiting out my three hour layover, when they announce my connection flight is overbooked and that they are requesting volunteers to take an alternate flight a few hours later. They offer a travel voucher for my troubles, and since I have done this before, and am in no particular hurry to get home, I volunteer. The desk attendant books me for both flights and asks that I not board the plan until the last possible minute so they can determine if it is necessary. I do so, and thankfully they are able to board everyone in coach. I originally bought a business class ticket as I was trying to save money for other things this summer, but as I had volunteered, they compensated me with a seat adjustment to first class. This series of events will be revealed as having been very easily ironic in a few moments. The plane is now at full capacity and we are ready to push-off as we were already 15 minutes late at that point. But, it was not to be. We sat at the gate for about 20 minutes before the pilot came over the intercom to inform us they were having maintenance problems—I had heard this before so I thought nothing of it. Another 30 minutes goes by and the pilot finally announces that we will be leaving the gate. We lift-off with no incident and fly south into the still sunny sky. The flight was rather uneventful, until we reached the airport. I was sitting in the right side window seat and could see our descent clearly as we began to land. But, at the last moment, the pilot pulled the nose up and we ascended back to a circling pattern. About 15 minutes later the pilot addressed the cabin once again saying they were having maintenance problems. We circled the airport for another 45 minutes, before he finally declared we would be landing. The landing was one of the roughest I have ever experienced, with heavy lateral motion and wind resistance (and I have flown quite a bit). Once we were on the ground, instead of slowing to a taxi speed and making our way to the gate, we stopped dead on the runway. As I stared out the right side of the plane I saw an airport emergency fire vehicle drive by. Without even thinking, I looked back across the cabin to the gentlemen I had carried on a conversation with earlier and asked how many emergency vehicles there were on his side. Without missing a bit he calmly raised his middle and index fingers and mouthed the word “two.” In that moment there was an odd silence on the plane—something I had never experienced before—broken almost all at once by the sound of people's voices on their cell phones. Later, as all of us stood around the baggage claim carousel, several people that were seated in the exit rows said that just before we landed they were approached by the flight attendants and asked if they knew how to open the exit hatches. From their accounts, the attendants were very nervous. I later found out that the front landing gear had not come down during the first landing attempt and they had quite a bit of trouble getting it down while we were in flight. Once down, they were afraid the bracing system would not work while landing and thus the force of the touch-down would cause it to collapse and we would have a crash landing. The circling pattern was meant to burn off most of the fuel before we made the attempt. Suffice to say, my family and I went for a very nice dinner that night. It ranks among the most surreal experiences of my life. At any rate, I am glad to be back. How is everyone doing; anything interesting happen during my hiatus?
post #2 of 30
Err... damn! I doubt anything that rivals that experience. Glad to hear you are ok and welcome back.
post #3 of 30
Congratulations on not dying. I was bit by a spider in my belly-button a few days ago, and boy does it suck.
post #4 of 30
Originally Posted by Tokyo Slim
Congratulations on not dying.

I was bit by a spider in my belly-button a few days ago, and boy does it suck.

Sorry, I cannot help but laugh. Forgive me Slim!
post #5 of 30
Thread Starter 
Hahaha. I apologize too.
post #6 of 30
Oh oh and I have a HUGE blister on my heel from those Polo boots I bought from Grapevinehill. I am being punished for my shoe lust Jofaile, I am surprised the air crew did not ask people to brace with that sort of landing. I would have expected that to be correct procedure. Addendum: Holy crap, 1000 posts! If only I was this productive at work, I would be the CEO by now
post #7 of 30
post #8 of 30
Originally Posted by Tokyo Slim

My god man, you always manage to make me laugh. Do you do weddings and barmitzvahs?
post #9 of 30
Thread Starter 
skalogre: I thought that was rather odd as well. The entire experience was rather strange. Tokyo Slim: My god man, put that away. You are frightening the children.
post #10 of 30
Originally Posted by skalogre
My god man, you always manage to make me laugh. Do you do weddings and barmitzvahs?
Hell, I've been known to do divorces and brises if the money is right...
post #11 of 30
Originally Posted by Tokyo Slim
Hell, I've been known to do divorces and brises if the money is right...

Judging by the posts you have put on the "how we roll" thread, that must be quite an experience! Both you and m@t need to start video blogs (hate the word but describes it well)
post #12 of 30
I've nearly died surfing on numerous occasions. I've been attacked by a pack of wild dogs (at least one of which was clearly rabid) late at night on the banks of the Ganges -- and these are dogs that know the taste of human flesh from eating incompletely burned remains creamated on the riverbanks. I've been hospitalized for a week in Calcutta for poisoning by malaria medicine. I've survived rolling my VW beetle late at night with a razor-sharp shingling hatchet flying loose inside the car -- and without a scratch. But I've never had a close call on a flight. Congratulations on being among the living. Many of us survive against the odds.
post #13 of 30
Several years ago I was on a flight that landed under the watchful eye of many emergency vehicles -- though for different reasons ... the plane had lost one of its two engines.

I was surprised and thankful to learn that a plane can indeed be safely landed with a single engine.

On that flight too the nervousness in the voices of the pilot (usually ever-calm) and flight staff could be heard.

Similarly, an eerie silence overtook the plane as we prepared to land. There simply isn't much to say at those moments, but much to think about and consider.

I find the similarities of these experiences quite interesting.
post #14 of 30
Hey, welcome back Jofaile! I was thinking someone had dredged up another ancient thread.

Glad to see you made it back in one piece.
post #15 of 30
I nearly drowned last summer on the Oregon coast. My brother, a collegiate swimmer friend and I went out into the surf around 1230, right when the tide was going back out. We swam about 100 yards offshore or so, when our friend turned back because the swells were about 6 feet. My brother and I didn't notice until she was about 90% back in, so he shouted, "The waves are pretty big. We should turn back."

But we couldn't. We were stuck in a rip current. We fought for another ten minutes and tried to swim parallel to the shore to escape it, but the 6 foot waves made that pretty difficult. I remember saying, "We're going to drown" in a very calm manner. About five minutes later the surf lifeguards came out on their surfboards and watched while we bullheadedly refused help (brother was an All-American swimmer in high school and I was a three-year state finalist, not to mention the both of us having been lifeguards for 3+ years - truly the most ironic near-death situation for us to be in).

I'm really thankful that we were on a beach with lifeguards, as much of the Oregon coast is unguarded. I estimate we were about 3-5 minutes from going under when we were saved. It's a lot harder to manage a rip current than the signs say.

I've never had a close call on a flight though. I totally understand the surreality you describe; no panic, no worry, almost a little bemusement at your situation.
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