27 December 2008
On the 20th of December 2008 Continental Airlines Flight 1404, destination Houston, Texas, crashed whilst taking off from the Denver International Airport, Colorado.
The Boeing 737-500 was cleared for takeoff on Runway 34R. However, the take off did not go as anticipated. At approximately 6:18 p.m. local time, the aircraft veered abruptly off the runway, skidded across both a taxiway and a service road and subsequently crashed into a deep ravine.
This violent sequence of events had not only caused the airplane severe damage (the fuselage cracked just behind the wings, the nose gear collapsed and both the Number 1 engine and main landing gear were sheared off) but also resulted in the Boeing 737 catching on fire.
Fire fighters were quickly on the scene and along with the flight attendants, helped passengers out of the burning airplane to safety.
Mercifully, there were no fatalities. Of the 110 passengers and five crew on board, some 38 sustained injuries whilst two people, (one of whom was the Captain) were critically injured.
The Boeing 737 aircraft involved in this accident was also declared a write off.
An investigation to determine the probable crash of Flight 1404 is currently underway. Investigators after interviewing the First Officer and examining wheel marks left on the ground have concluded that the airplane was airborne briefly, before it skidded off the runway.
Initial NTSB reports also indicated that the landing gear aboard the 737 could’ve malfunctioned, leading to a wheel lockup which in turn caused the aircraft to veer off the runway. However this theory was later scrapped as the tires were found to be fully inflated and the brakes did not appear to have failed.
The reason why Continental Airlines Flight 1404 crashed, therefore still remains a mystery. However, knowing that all 115 passengers and crew were able to escape the burning wreck is definitely a relief.
26 December 2008
Four years have passed since that fateful day in December 2004 when the sea turned savage and unleashed two gigantic waves which took the world by storm. More than 225,000 innocent people perished, victims of one of the deadliest natural disasters in history. I recently read a book titled And Then One Morning by Aaron Le Boutillier. The author was on the tiny island of Phi Phi, Thailand when the tsunami hit and witnessed first hand the horrors of this black day. Aaron also tragically lost three of his best friends: Heinz Oswald and his two young daughters Anna and Tina. This emotional and beautifully written personal odyssey touched me and left me wondering why? Why did Mother Nature unleash her fury, triggering such a catastrophic disaster? Why did some people perish whilst others lived? Why were the lives of so many little children cut short in such a brutal fashion? Why did thousands of people all over the world lose a husband or wife, son or daughter, relative or friend? Despite much reflection I don't have answers for these questions. They will remain forever shrouded in shadow - just a few of the world's great mysteries. Today, however, is the fourth anniversary of the Boxing Day Tsunami. I humbly ask you to close your eyes for just a minute and remember the many victims who fell prey to this tragic catastrophe. May their souls rest in peace.