Monday, February 8, 2010

A plane on fire

Waiting in the airport building of Los Angeles for a flight to Mexico recently.

Large windows in the terminal building gave a wide view of all the activities around docked planes that were emptied and filled.

A man in a uniform came to sit close by and grabbed a left newspaper to read the sports section.
He was one of those persons at airports that assist travelers that need a wheel chair.
Obviously he was waiting for a plane coming in having a passenger unable to walk.

Pausing while reading the ridiculous book "The three musketeers" by Alexandre Dumas the eyes were trained on the view in front through the large windows.
A large Boeing 747 Jumbo from China Airlines was close by.
And suddenly, near an engine, smoke started to rise.
More and more smoke.
Developing into a huge cloud.
Fueled by a powerful source blowing large quantities of white smoke around the plane.

First thought: where is the camera?
Second thought: of all the hundreds of people sitting here waiting for a plane, nobody seem to notice that a Jumbo has caught fire and might explode.
Third thought: some official should know about this.

Following up on the last thought, the wheelchair person in uniform, the closest to being an official, was told in a rather panicked voice: "There is a plane on fire, Sir!"

As he was deeply involved in reading about the latest concerning basket ball, he had no interest and didn't look up.
Therefore, the remark was repeated.
In the end, if that Jumbo would blow up, with its kerosene tanks loaded to the rim to be able to reach China, it was goodbye to life for everybody waiting there in that lounge.
Included the uniformed guy highly interested in reports on basket ball.


This made him drop the newspaper, turn around and watch the scene of disaster.
Where he saw some ground personnel around the Jumbo moving around quietly and composed.
"Sure as hell I'm happy not being there right now", the uniformed man remarked.
Instead of calling the cops or at least the fire brigade.
He was only concerned for his health.
Happy not to have to breath the smoke coming from the Chinese Jumbo.

He also remarked that the fire brigade of Los Angeles International Airport was just behind that particular terminal so that they would arrive soon and handle the fire in an expert way.
And continued to read the newspaper.

But then, suddenly the smoke outpouring stopped.
And no damage could be determined.
To see the preparation of the plane continue as if nothing had happened.

One moment a plane is on fire.
Next moment the plane is not on fire.
What were the basket ball results again?

1 comment:

Rob Greer said...

You tell a good story. I regretted that the end was anticlimactic--which affirms that people everywhere love to watch a good train wreck.