South Sioux City, NE
Tomorrow is the 25th anniversary of the United Airlines Flight 232 crash. The airplane with nearly 300 people on board crash-landed at the Sioux City airport. More than 100 people died, but thanks to efforts from crew members, first responders, and others, over 180 people survived.
Its been 25 years since a DC-10 airliner flying from Denver to Chicago lost all hydraulic power after the rear engine exploded. The pilots were able to maneuver the plane to do a crash-landing at the Sioux City airport before it broke apart in a cornfield. When it hit the ground, one flight attendant aboard the plane thought her life was going to end.
"I basically prepared myself to die and when we landed it was the big ball of fire and I calmly said to myself 'I'm burning to death, this is how I'm going to die,'" Susan White Callender said.
After the plane ripped to shreds, first responders raced to help survivors. Gary Brown was the emergency manager during the crash, and he says how the community responded to the disaster didn't surprise him.
"Couple thousand people showed up for 296 of you that we never met. It took what goes on here every day in this community and the United States and it brought it all to one spot," Brown said.
Some crew members say they dealt with survivors guilt after the tragic crash, but some were able to turn the guilt into something positive.
Captain Al Haynes went through therapy after the disaster. He learned to talk about what happened that day, and he's done over 1700 speeches about how he handled the plane failure.
"Every talk I give is a little step further to get over this. You're never going to get over this. I don't believe in the word closure. You're never going to close out something like this. You just learn to accept this and to live with this," Captain Al Haynes.
He also says he and his crew weren't heros that day, just people doing their job. But the numerous survivors at the event today say they were thankful for all the efforts to help them attend this memorial weekend.
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