Sunday, January 18, 2009

"The Big Incident" FAQ's

I know, i need to put it on paper. All of it. But I'm still wrapping my mind around it. In the meantime, here are some FAQ's and my most succinct answers...until the full story.

1. What were you thinking while all of it was going on?
Well, honestly, I fell asleep at the gate and didn't wake up until the "explosion." I heard the noise and asked the girl next to me "what was that?" She had been asleep too. The cabin filled with the smell of fuel and electrical fire, we banked hard left and THAT's when I got scared. We were descending rather than ascending and THAT's when I knew we were in trouble. The pilot came on the intercom and said "BRACE FOR IMPACT." I thought "I'm not ready!" (meaning, I'm not ready to brace for impact, I don't know how to brace for impact, WHAT DOES BRACE FOR IMPACT IMPLY???) And as I looked at the other passengers putting their heads between their knees and hands on the backs of their heads, I did the same thing. I thought - no way this is happening, I'M NOT READY!!! When we hit, I assumed we would be under water and I immediately wondered if my cell phone would work. I thought about calling Joel. I thought about how to kick out the window of a plane while it was under water - and before I could sit up I heard the guys behind me (the exit row) yelling "GO! GO! GO!" So I went.

2. Was it mass chaos getting off the plane?
Yes and no. I was in the row directly in front of the exit (9F was my seat). There was a guy there helping everyone from the exit row forward get out. I had my purse in my hand and was standing in my seat because there was so much stuff on the floor. He hollered at me to "come on" and i started over the back of the seat. He told me to grab my seat cushion, so I dropped my purse and grabbed the floatation device (they really do work, by the way). He hurriedly ushered me out the door where I stood on the wing, helping others out the door. Our side (the right side) was pretty orderly. Men insisted on women and children being loaded into the raft first. We had a family on our side, too, with a 3 yr old daughter and a 9 month old son. EVERYONE pulled together to make sure the kids were safe.

3. Did you get wet?
Yes. Everyone got wet. Although when I first got on the wing it was like standing in a shallow puddle, by the time I landed in the raft, I was up to mid calf. There was a lot of fuel in the water - I can't imagine what the people who jumped in the river directly from the plane went through. I watched the father of the two kids jump in to get to the ferry faster, and he was immediately paralyzed by the cold.

4. Were you on the NY side or the Jersey side?
Jersey. And they were phenomenal. I don't care what anyone says about Yankees - they were nothing but kind and generous. By the time the first boats pulled in, they had delivered boxes and boxes of the ferry workers uniforms (sweaters, dickies pants, long sleeved shirts, beanies) to us and were wrapping us with blankets, towels and even their own clothes to get us warm. The ferry terminal became a triage center - they served us coffee, hot chocolate, cookies, and even sent someone out to buy socks for all of us. I can't put into words what respect I have for the NY Waterway staff and the Port Authority Police. There was absolutely no hesitation at all on their part. They didn't wait for someone to tell them to help - they helped. I wish I could paint the emotions I have that go with the images of those ferry boats coming full speed at us while we were standing on the wing.

That's all I can think of for now...I'm sitting at home with my hubby, with a pot roast in the crock pot, planning to spend the evening curled up on the couch with him. I have a phone now, and (obviously) a computer. There is still a lot up in the air - and the emotions come and go in waves - but bottom line is, I'm home and safe and I recognize the magnitude of how I've been blessed.

I love you all! Have a wonderful evening. Cherish your family!



the willards said...

i'm so happy that you are home safe with joel again... I cannot imagine or fathom going through something like that. We love you guys!

Anonymous said...

Robin, I have no words for the enormity of what you have been through. I thank God you are ok and at home safe and sound with Joel, we are all blessed to have here to love.


Mommarags said...

Robin, God was watching over you then and he will now too. My prayers are with you and Joel and my thanks to God that you are home safe. Love you, Ruth Ann

John Michael Tara Shay and Echo Delilah said...

the cool thing is you survived. and with all that humanity in your memory !