FLIGHT GONE SOUTH III
Happy new year all, how have you all been? I presume great. If you are reading this then you are alive and that should be enough reason to be thankful. This post is in memory of those that have either lost someone in a plane crash or survived one. May the soul of the departed rest in peace, may the survivors always find succor regardless of what they are going through and may the ones, who the departed left behind find strength to forge ahead. (Bimbo Odukoya, Emilliano Sala, Kachi and a whole lot of others)
My name is OJ if you don’t know and I am an Air host, you know all those beautiful ladies with great uniforms that escort the pilot into a plane, well I happen to be their male counterpart. Sadly, we do not walk the runway like our female counterpart with the pilot, no slow music will play in the background to be honest to herald our entrance but at least I get paid and paid good and get to travel around a whole lot and get my passport stamped at every point. But it is not always smooth sailing to be honest and this is one of those tales I must say.
So, we did all the customary checks before allowing passengers in and it was going great, it was one of those flights I did not have much interest in entertaining the funny side or irritating side of anyone. I had slept late, playing the Play station with my cousin and here I was paying the price for such recklessness if I may put it that way. I knew I was going to carry out all activities in a robot-like manner and pray the Plane lands as quickly as possible.
After serving the light refreshment and making sure everything was in order, I went to take my seat and that was when it happened. I heard a loud sound and my training kicked in, I moved towards the rows to find out what went wrong while at the same time calming the passengers down with a smile assuring them there was nothing to worry about. To be honest my heart had started to do the Swahilli dance, I had watched and heard too many stories not to panic. I made my way to the cockpit gently so I would not cause unnecessary panic in the plane. When I got in, the pilot was in Panic mode. I asked him what was wrong, she said we had lost one of the engines, she suspected a bird and she was not sure the second one would hold for long. This meant one thing, we had to make an emergency landing at the nearest airport. I asked her how close we were to the nearest airport, she said 30minutes. I swallowed hard, perspiration began to form on my forehead I did not like the signs or facial expression of the flight crew. I closed the door of the cockpit and then gathered the other hostesses together to break the news to them. “We have lost an engine and probably loose the second, brace yourself this is what we have been trained for, make sure when the announcement is made by the pilot you all are in hand to help every passenger know the drill and most importantly PRAY!!!”. The panic on their faces was something I did not prepare my mind for. The energy they emitted sipped into me and I began to see my life pass before my eyes. The announcement followed immediately “Ladies and Gentlemen this is your Captain speaking, we are experiencing a turbulence due to an engine issue, please calmly strap yourself to your seats and remain calm, the host and hostesses will show you the drill and help you with anything you might need. Please do not panic, we will land just in time for dinner with family”.
“Oh Lord!!” I voiced out unconsciously. I still went around making sure everyone was comfortable. I saw passengers crying, others where praying really hard, the kids did not understand the confusion, but they sort of sensed there was an issue and most started to cry. Others where so unbelievable blaming the fact that the Pilot was a woman hence the reason for the issue on the plane. I did not have any of their time to be honest. I just needed the damn plane to land in one piece. I ran over to the Cockpit again to get an update because I was losing my mind with everything, I saw around me, even the hostesses where not left out, some were already in tears. “Any improvement?” I asked, “Unfortunately none, infact we have lost the second engine. This is it brace yourself man” came the reply from the Pilot. I was lost for words to be honest. Was this truly it. No way I failed to accept such, and I looked the pilot in the eyes and said, “Get us down Pilot, I believe in you!!” She temporarily stopped and looked at me in the eyes and nodded. There was a sort of believe and appreciation in those eyes of hers. I immediately closed the door and went to a corner to pray hard. The tears came down uncontrollably and I remembered my mum and her sweet smile, her words and prayers over me. She never really liked this job, but a man had to make a living somehow. I really would miss her if everything went south. I intensified in my prayer and thought of my cousin Obaz, I was going to miss him too. I drove all my fear aside, this was not a time for such thoughts while there was life, I had hope no matter how small.
“Get ready we will be making an emergency landing” came the words from the speaker from the Pilot. She was going to land the plane. The chances of survival where slim but I would take those chances over nothing. I quickly ran through to check every passenger to make sure they where firmly strapped to their sits and then I saw a child slipping off and I ran to his aid, when he was fully strapped in, I was taking a walk back to my own sit when the first swerve happened and I fell hard on the floor. It hurt as hell. I groaned in pain and felt blood flow from my face. But that was a minor issue now, I lifted myself up and ran to my sit and strapped myself in and shut my eyes tightly. It was now or never. WE MADE IMPACT!!!!!
We did survive that ordeal, though we recorded three deaths it still hurt like hell… I had bruises all over, but it was nothing compared to the pain in my heart. The child I had strapped in never made it. It was a pain I knew I was going to carry for the rest of my life.
Categories: Short Stories