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Aboard Flight 564

Posted by john h on 9/22/01 at 14:20 (061270)

I have sent this to several of you but I think that all of you will enjoy reading it.

As it was at most U.S. airports, last Saturday was the first near normal day at Denver International since the terriorist attacks. On United' Fligh 564 the door had just been locked and the plane was about to pull out of the gate when the captain came on the public address system. 'I want to thank you brave folks for coming out today. We don't have any new instructions from the federal government, so from now on we're on our own.'

The passengers listened in total silence. He explained the airport security measures had pretty much solved the problem of firearms being carried aboard, but not weapons of the type the terroristrs apparentlyhad used, plastic knivers or those fashioned from wood or ceramics.

'Sometimes a potential hijacker will announce that he has a bomb. Threre are no bombs on this aircraft and if someone were to get up, brandish something such as plastic knife and say 'this is a hijacking' or words to that effect here is what you should do: Every one of you should stand and immediately throw things at that person - pillow, books, magazine, eyegalsses, shoes - anything that will throw him off balance and distract his attention. If he has a confederat or tow, do the same thing with them. Mos important: get a blanket over him, then wrestle him to the floor and keep him there. We'll land the plane at the nearest airport and the authorities will take it from there.' 'Remember, there will be one of him and maybe a few confederates, but there are 200 of you. You can overwhelm them.

'The Declaration of Independance say 'We the people' and that's just what it is when we're up in the air: we, the people, vs. would be terriorist. I don't think we are going to have any such problem today or for a while, but some time down the road, it going to happen again and I want you to know what to do..

'Now , since we're a famil for the next few hours, I'll ask you to turn to the person next to you, introduce yourself, tell them a little about yourself and ask them to do the same.'

The end of this remarkable speech brought sustained clapping from the passeners. He had put the matter in perspective. If only the passengers on thos ill-fated flights las Tuesday had been given the same talk, I though, they might be alive today. One group on United 93, which crashed in Pennsylvania field, apparently rushed the hijackers in an attempt to wrest control from them. While they perished, they succeeded in preventing the terrorist from attacking his intended goal, possibly the White House or the Capitol. Procedures for dealing with hijackers were usually seeking the release of jailed comrades or a large amount of money. Mass murder was not their goal. That short talk last Saturday by the Pilot should set a new standard of realism.

Every passenger should learn the simple - but potentially live saving procedure he outlined. He showed his passenger that a hijacking does not hve to result in hopelessness with terrior, but victory over the perpetratror.

The Airline Pilot's Association, the pilots' union, last week dropped its opposition to stronger cockpit doors and is now calling for retrofits, (it's opposition was based on pilot concerns about getting out easily in emergency situations.} The scandal of easily penetrated airport security will result in congressional calls for a federal takeover of the security system.

Previous efforts to reform security procedures and raise standards have been talked to death. This time, however, no lobbying efforts mus be allowed to prevent airport security from getting the reforms that are needed: federal operation, rigorous training, decent pay and no foreign nationals elgible for employment.

This is from Washington Times.

Re: Aboard Flight 564

Barbara TX on 9/22/01 at 15:12 (061280)

I am perfecting the use of crutches as projectile weapons. I can already use them to pull a naughty toddler out of my cosmetics. B.

Re: Aboard Flight 564

nancy s. on 9/22/01 at 15:17 (061281)

now stop it, nancy and barb, i can't cry for laughing!

Re: Aboard Flight 564

Stephanie S. on 9/23/01 at 11:34 (061332)

John...that was very touching to read...thank you for sharing.

Re: Aboard Flight 564

Barbara TX on 9/22/01 at 15:12 (061280)

I am perfecting the use of crutches as projectile weapons. I can already use them to pull a naughty toddler out of my cosmetics. B.

Re: Aboard Flight 564

nancy s. on 9/22/01 at 15:17 (061281)

now stop it, nancy and barb, i can't cry for laughing!

Re: Aboard Flight 564

Stephanie S. on 9/23/01 at 11:34 (061332)

John...that was very touching to read...thank you for sharing.