Friday, January 16, 2009

The Unlikely Event of a Water Landing

I think we can all agree that this is an amazing story.

There are a few takeaways for me. The first is the reassuring knowledge that airplanes more or less float, at least for a little while. I didn’t know this.

The second is a reminder that pilots are the most unflappable people in the world. This I did know.

The last thing I have gleaned from coverage of this crash is the conviction that New Yorkers can handle a disaster like no other people on earth. An airplane falls out of the sky and nobody panics. The passengers calmly exit the aircraft and stand on the wing in freezing water up to their knees like they’re waiting for a crosstown bus. Ferry commuters start throwing life jackets overboard and pulling people out of the water like they do it every day.

It’s pretty incredible. I worry that if this had happened in the Bay Area no rescue would have happened before a drum circle was organized and social workers had determined that all the victims actually wanted to be saved. I fear that if I had been on the plane, I would not have calmly waited my turn to exit. I’m pretty sure I would have made a scene, and I think it would have been like the scene in Airplane where the passengers are lining up for the chance to slap the hysterical woman.

I don’t always enjoy being in New York City, but I will admit that the people are a lot tougher than I am.

No comments: