Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Plane crash survivor

When I found out I was coming to Angola, everyone at my grad school told me to get in tough with Nate. He graduated from SIPA a semester before I did and was working in Mbanza Congo (northern Angola) on a malaria project. I did, and he gave me excellent advice on living and working in Angola. We've kept in touch via email but have yet to meet face-to-face.

When I first heard about the crash (see previous posts), I immediately contacted him to see if he was okay. He wrote this in response:

"Actually, I was on the plane. It was pretty crazy, but I'm fine."

He keeps a blog and has this post about the experience and the aftermath.
Then we hit. All hope for a normal landing was out the door in a split second. We hit hard. The whole plane shook and the oxygen masks fell down. People started screaming. The landing gear must have broken at this point and we shot off down the runway with no brakes and out of control. Then I heard something hit the plane. I put my head down and covered it with my hands, with a vague feeling of waiting for something to hit me. I don’t remember anything after that until I felt the plane stop. I breathed a huge sigh of relief and looked up. The front of the plane was gone. I looked to my right and saw part of the plane blocking the aisle and the people on the other side unconscious with blood running down their faces.

It's terrifying. It shows the absolute worst of Angola. I've read it about three time s and still can't believe it.

MY complaints about the trouble this crash has caused me in trying to go home on vacation seem really insignificant after reading his post. Now, I hope this trouble is gone quickly just so Nate can get home. He deserves it.

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