Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Near Death Experience


I had been visiting with my family over the week-end to celebrate my mother’s 90th birthday. I was headed home and detoured to Oklahoma City to see an archaeology exhibit. On Monday I got to the airport early and boarded my flight to Memphis I would have an hour to change planes there. 

Our flight was a 50 seat jet that was full. As we took off we all heard a loud bang and the whole plane shuddered. We became distressed to say the least. After a bit the pilot announced that something had happened on takeoff and that we were returning to Oklahoma City for inspection. This was both good news and bad news. We all knew that we would miss our connecting flights.

We did a low fly over of the airport so the Delta ground crew could check the belly of the plane. It was decided that a tire had blown and the under carriage needed to be inspected. We would have to land. We had a full tank of fuel and a missing tire.  Not a good combination. So we flew in circles around Oklahoma City staying in the air past the time we would have landed in Memphis.

As we cam in for a landing there were fire trucks lining the side of the runway and they followed us in. We were instructed in crash landing positions for that aircraft. As we touched down and began to roll to the gate a cheer went up that we were safe.

Delta had a lot of staff working to get us new flights. Most of the planes leaving that evening were full already. I was given boarding passes to Atlanta and then Louisville for 6:30 Tuesday morning. We were also given meal vouchers and hotel rooms on Deltas dime.

It was an interesting feeling to realize that there was the possibility of the plane crashing when we touched down. Accidental death is always possible but to be that close to the reality of it had a lot of us praying while our heads were bowed in the crash position.

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