Following online news reports covering this morning’s plane crash in Durban, I have gained new insight into what action to take in the unlikely event that a small twin-engined aircraft should crash-land in my neighbourhood, skidding over an unfortunate municipal worker in the process.
Pictures: Gcina Ndwalane via iol.co.za
My first reaction – being trained in first aid – would have been to approach the aircraft and try and assist in whatever way I could, taking into account the dangers inherent in such a move. One of the first things I was taught by St. John (or one of his discipley people) is how not to make oneself an additional casualty in such any given incident.
However, it would seem that in the intervening period, the rules have changed.
Logie Naidoo, said she noticed the low flying plane just after 8am. “We are used to planes flying low overhead but this was too low.”
Being at ground level? Well spotted, Logie.
“There was a very loud noise and the plane slid in between our houses through a vacant lot and into the school property,” she said.
Naidoo said a municipal worker who was cleaning the street at the time appeared to have been struck by the plane.
“I was horrified, it looked like the plane slid over one man. I started screaming and praying. It all just happened so quickly.”
Again, flawless insight. Plane crashes do tend to be pretty quick. That, I believe, is due to the combination of the effects of the aircraft’s jet engines and the seemingly relentless pull of gravity.
Slower plane crashes tend to be more controlled and are called “landings”.
But did you pick up on the important detail there?
On no account should you try to physically assist anyone in or underneath the crashed aircraft. The best response is to scream and pray.
Scream and pray.
Screaming is a good idea because the noise will alert other individuals in the area that there has been a plane crash (probably a quick one). You may find that screaming is superfluous however, since the noise of the actual plane actually crashing may have made them already realise that a plane crash has occurred.
Never mind. It’ll help to scream anyway. And pray.
Praying, to be honest, is less helpful in these sort of situations when you actually stop to think about it. Which you won’t, because you’re too busy screaming.
Praying suggests that you believe in some deity or higher power being responsible for the things that happen on, around and – crucially – just above this planet. That being the case, your deity or higher power has already made his/her/its mind up about the little SAA Airlinkplane that just tried to take off from Durban Airport. And about the unfortunate municipal worker underneath it. Strangely, he/she/it has also made up his/her/its mind about you as well and you get to live, presumably so you can scream and pray.
But praying at this point is the equivalent of imploring a football referee to change his mind about the red card he just gave to your teammate. The mind is made up, the decision now set in stone (or at least a school fence). And your continued protests are likely to get you a yellow card. I presume that would be a mild heart attack or something similar.
But whatever you do, don’t actually go and try to help anyone. Stand there, scream and pray.
And then tell the newspapers about how you did it. You hero.