Just when I had started dozing off at one of the couches in the departures section of the busy airport terminal, a lady's voice quickly snatched the opportunity away from me. My flight had been canceled twice due to airplane technicalities, and so I had to take a 10 p.m flight back home from an excursion to the Canary Islands. An announcement was made that we get ready for our flight to New Jersey. At last! What a relief? After waiting for hours on end, I can now travel back home! After all the bureaucracies of checking the luggage and document verification, we eventually boarded the long awaited flight headed for New Jersey.
I always loved the feeling that came with the breathtaking moment during takeoff and so I couldn't help but to take pictures of the runway and get a shot of that perfect moment when the wheels left the ground. Minutes into the flight, the airplane had already reached cruising altitude, and all the passengers on board were now relaxed. The flight attendants got busy and started serving refreshments while others were busy moving back and forth as if on patrol duty in the plane. It's going to be a great flight, so I thought. An hour into our long flight, the whole cabin was filled with pin-drop silence. Most of the passengers had gotten a perfect opportunity to take a nap after a long and tiresome day moving up and down the airport in the Islands. Though fatigued, I took the opportunity to listen to some smooth and soothing rock music while leaning back in the comfortable leather seat headrest.
Minutes later, the plane started shaking. It must be the normal air turbulence; I convinced myself. After all, we had been informed by the captain before starting our journey that we'll experience some those because of the flight route we were taking and so neither the other passengers nor I was bothered with that. It was one out of the many to come. We were prepared for it! After a short while, there was another one, and then another one! Everyone had now started getting concerned. What could be amiss? The question lingered in every passenger's mind, though silently. We stopped whatever we were doing, and all the attention shifted towards the plane. Soon, an announcement came from the co-pilot; we had just lost one of the two aircraft engines. My spine was not spared of the chills and shivers.
The plane had suddenly started taking a dive at speeds that were beyond human imagination. Thirty-five thousand feet up the sky and projecting downwards at the speed of light! The passengers' screams pierced the air while babies' cries were heard all over the place. An old couple on the next seat held cuddled as if it was their last time. All this time, I was just holding tight to the seat with one arm while ensuring the other did not lose grip of my "good-luck" necklace. The pilots were busy in the cockpit trying to save our lives, or maybe theirs. They had completely lost control of the plane, and so we had to get prepared for the worst while still praying for the best. An emergency call was made to the nearest airport, the captain requesting for an emergency crash landing with fear clearly pronounced in his voice. Tango! Tango! Communication was failing. The only hope we had was now being drained. We had to bow down and say our last prayers; if at all the time would be enough even to say a sentence.
A voice then came from the cockpit via the large front and rear speakers;"prepare for an emergency landing! Buckle up and lean forward against the pillows provided!" We all followed the instructions, and before long, a deafening screech was heard; the plane had just touched down with a mind-boggling speed. The pedal brakes had also failed due to the high speed but thank heavens; there were some emergency hand brakes to go by. Soon the plane had stopped amidst all the efforts by the captains, and the nightmare was over, at least for now. This started as the genesis of my fear of heights and flying too.
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