KLM Crew Planning May 30, 1961: “Els, we scheduled you on VIASA 897 via Lisbon as requested day after tomorrow, but one of your colleagues is making her last flight and many of her friends are on this one, would you be willing to change?”
“Darn… I had nice plans with a friend in Mexico… oh well… OK… but please call this number to let my friend know I will not be on this one will you ?”
That DC8 crashed into the Atlantic Ocean two hours after taking off from Lisbon. The cause of the crash was never found, but months later remains of the plane washed up on the shores of the river Taag where it exits into the ocean.
Why me? Why not?
Another time, on June 12, 1961, well before the time of mobile phones, while serving as a reserve for Schiphol KLM Crew Planning, I received this message: “Els, the girl for Cairo/Kualalumpur has not yet checked. You’ll have to take over, takeoff is in one hour. KL 823. Hurry!” Super! the Electra was a wonderful aircraft to work on, and I’d have three days visiting the pyramids, the Souk… eating lovely food… and then Kualalumpur!
Once on board, the planned stewardess for this flight – Egyptian by birth – came running up the boarding stairs: “Els, that blasted bridge was closed for two hours. I asked for this flight as my brother marries day after tomorrow. The whole family will be there. OK if I take it?””
But of course …
Hours later the aircraft crashed on Short Final at Cairo. She survived, but was badly hurt and didn’t fly again until a year later.
Why me? Why not?
During my KLM years I experienced an emergency descent at Shannon and an emergency landing at Kualalumpur (the nosewheel did not lock). Getting the passengers off the plane through that mountain of foam on the runway was quite an operation!
Synchronicity? Not my time? And if so.. why not?
Answers will never come… the questions remain.