All 155 or so people made it off the plane alive. That's a miracle. That the pilot could land the thing safely is the real miracle. Praise God that this incident ended in such a positive way.
I've had my own few scares while flying...but nothing like having to ditch in the water, etc. I had one spooky experience with turbulence on a flight home from Montana in Summer 2003 after a church mission trip.
Talk about a cheap flight! I was flying from Montana to Arkansas after the mission trip. But come on! The itinerary went something like this; Billings to Denver, Denver to Dallas, Dallas to Miami, Miami to London, London to Milwaukee, Milwaukee to San Fran, San Fran to Tallahassee, and finally into Little Rock. Well, of course, I'm kidding. The truth is, the last leg was from Dallas on into Little Rock. But it did seem about that long, with about that many stops. Boy, was I glad when I finally got home that evening.
There is more to the story though. The flight from Dallas to Little Rock got much more interesting. We were told by the pilot when we left Dallas that there were storms all around Little Rock and that the flight could get a bit bumpy. "Oh, great," I thought to myself. "That's all I need. Turbulence!" Having experienced several other "bumpy" flights in the past, the T-word didn't bring me a great deal of in-flight joy. You see, I 'm not scared of flying, and I'm not scared of heights, I'm just scared of flying into a really large mountain or free-falling from thirty thousand feet. So I reached over and pulled my seatbelt a little tighter, though we all know the only thing a seatbelt does is keep us from bouncing all over the cabin and breaking something before the plane crashes into the ground. I glanced around at the other passengers. Everyone just kept right on doing what they were doing; reading, talking, typing on their laptops, or drinking!! As a Southern Baptist Pastor, I don't drink. I suddenly realized that I was in trouble. How could I get through air turbulence without alcohol? I wasn't sure...but I had no other choice. I was going to have to try.
It was at this time I also noticed that everyone had someone sitting next to them except me. I suddenly felt lonely. But I dismissed that as the chance to be left alone. That way if the plane went down I could die in peace.
Well, sure enough, as promised, about 15 minutes out of Little Rock, our little 40 passenger plane hit the turbulent air, or the turbulent air hit us, I'm not sure which...and I don't think it really matters. The Stewardess had just handed me my complimentary APPLE JUICE at that exact moment. People were yelling and a few were actually screaming(I'm not speaking ministerially here). Several couples around me were even holding hands. I suddenly felt really bad being I had no one next to me to hold hands with!
The stewardess decided that she would try and help us all be calm and relax. She yelled to all of us on the plane, "Folks, just try and remain calm. There's nothing to be worried about. Air turbulence is just like going over a speed bump in your car...except that we're in the air!" I sat for a moment and then thought, "Nope, that's not gonna work for me! " That's not gonna do it for this preacher whose faith just got thrown to the back of the plane. That woman needed to find some better pat answers. All I knew was that after going over a speed bump in my car, I've never fallen 30,000 feet to the ground in a ball of flames.
Now please understand, this was real life turbulence. I mean, that little plane was flopping all over the sky and I was flopping all over the sky with it. I really didn't know what to do. But I wanted to make sure I was in the right position for crashing, at least. So I grabbed the chair in front of me with my left hand, held my tremendously valuable apple juice(I wasn't going down on that plane thirsty!) with my left hand, and since I had no one sitting next to me, I put my right foot against the plane's wall...and rode that puppy out! For a minute there, I felt like I was on the professional bull rider's circuit.
But through the whole ordeal, I think I am most proud of one thing - I never once spilt a drop of my apple juice!!!!!
Well, I average flying about once a year. Gonna do my best to keep it that way. For God didn't say 'HIGH I will be with you'...but 'Lo I will be with you." I'm going to trust His Word!!!
Hang in there!