THERE WAS NO SCREAMING from the passengers. the only sound inside the cabin was a hissing noise created by the ice that pelted the injured jet as it dove through the darkness. families, lovers, friends, and perfect strangers linked arms and held hands, not wanting to die without the touch of another person.
Some prayed to whatever god gave them peace. Others quietly wept knowing how the folks back home would miss them. Some wondered why they had not done more with their lives. Others angrily cursed their fate. Still others sat in stoic silence and conceded it was just their time as it would eventually be everyone’s time.
The first glancing collision was surprisingly mild. Despite the explosive sound of a ten foot section of the left wing being violently ripped off, and the ensuing sparks created by the impact of metal hitting rock, the flash of light and sound gave some passengers fleeting hope. Okay, we got through that, maybe it won’t be so bad.
The second impact eliminated all hope. It snapped the spinal cords of nearly half the passengers instantly killing most and paralyzing the rest. Those who survived that impact were the unlucky ones. The third impact tore off the right wing and sent the cabin of the jet somersaulting down a mountain valley littered with pine trees, large boulders and unforgiving dirt.
As if in a gigantic blender the seats holding the passengers were ripped from their moorings and now lifeless bodies were smashed against the interior of the rapidly disintegrating air craft or tossed out into the cold and rain. Those who remained in the center section of the jet were soon engulfed by ignited jet fuel that swept through the cabin with a “whoosh.”
For several moments the remnants of the lifeless jet could be heard cascading down the valley like fading thunder at the end of a summer’s storm. Then there was utter silence except a new hissing sound. It was rain hitting white hot metal.