Disasters In The Air
14 years ago today, on January 31, 2000, an Alaska Airlines MD-83 crashed into the Pacific Ocean off Point Mugu, California. All 88 passengers and crew aboard were killed.
Disasters—natural or man-made— have the potential to terminate hundreds or even thousands of lives in an instant. These kinds of events may or may not strike with warning. Air crash disasters very often occur following a rapid sequence of events, usually involving a mechanical malfunction or communication failure which have severely disabled a craft’s ability to recover or sustain propulsion to continue. This terrible time, possibly just minutes, is about all the on-board crew and passengers have in the way of a warning.
Victims of air crashes are typically very badly injured, often more so by the intense fire and heat, than the trauma of the crash’s final impact. Unfortunately, recovery of the victims’ remains is a slow process, due to verification on multiple levels to ensure accurate identification of each person.
These sudden deaths are especially difficult for the families who survive the losses. The grief process is complicated by intense shock, disbelief, and complete lack of anticipation or preparation for the possibility of such an event. Further difficulty arises when there is no possibility of viewing the body, which is important in beginning the grief process, in accepting that the death is real. People who must mourn the loss of a loved one through a sudden and traumatic death are encouraged to seek counseling from well-qualified grief counselors.
©C.S. Thompson, 2013-14.