Posts Tagged ‘Accident’

I’ve been at O’Hare International Airport, once, it’s located in Chicago, Illinois and I fortunately got my flight in and out without incident. For the passengers and crew of American Airline Flight 191 it was another story entirely. The tragedy occurred 25th May, 1979 and was recorded on film and photography at the time.

Just as the aircraft reached its take-off speed engine no.1 and the pylon assembly were separated from the left wing. It flipped over the top of the wing and then landed on the runway. The aircraft was continuing on the normal climb up but everyone thought the pilot would be turning to come back around to land.

It is unknown what was said in the cockpit because the cockpit voice recorder lost power with the loss of the engine. The last recorded words were from the first officer “Damn!” and it was known after the engine was not the only failure in the plane. Hydraulic systems one and three were damaged and the airplane was in he air for 50 seconds before it crashed into the ground.

What the passengers saw is debatable, but the cockpit had been equipped with CCTV positioned above the captains shoulder and connected to view screens in the passenger cabin, it is possible they could see their efforts unfolding as well. The plane crashed into a field around 4,600 feet from the end of the runway, aircraft debris was then thrown into an adjacent trailer park. The DC-10 aircraft also crashed into an old aircraft hanger that was part of the old Ravenswood Airport, being used for storage.

271 people onboard the aircraft were killed, two employees at a nearby repair garage were killed and two more were seriously burnt. The conclusion, taking out the jargon, was that the aeroplane had crashed because of improper maintenance used by American Airlines. 273 dead, and despite later exonerating the aircraft the damage was done in the public’s eye. American Airlines were fined $500,000 by the US government for improper maintenance procedures. 262 Americans, 4 Saudi Arabians, 1 South Korean, 2 Austrian, 1 Belgian and 4 people from the Netherlands all gone. For 32 years there was no memorial placed but in 2009 a memorial was funded after a two-year campaign by the 6th grade class of Decatur classical school in Chicago.

With a tragedy like this it is not unusual to think that there would be accounts of strange activity. Des Plaines officers reported that motorists had reported odd sights within a few months of the crash. They had seen odd, bobbing lights in the accident sites field, they had thought that it might be ghoulish collectors but on arrival they found the fields empty. Patrols often went on to the field but never apprehended anyone.

The nearby mobile homes park residents claimed to hear knocking at doors, rapping at doors and windows; responders would open their doors only to find there was nobody there. Dogs at the park would bark at the empty field and owners were unable to find anything that they would be reacting too. On a few occasions it was also said people confronted figures in the area too, and might get a worried person who told them they were searching for lost luggage or needed to make a connection before disappearing.

One anecdote (Americanhauntingsink.com) recalls a man who was approached by another man, he was walking his dog in an area near the crash at night and the man told him he needed to mark an emergency telephone call. The man was said to have a strong smell of gasoline and appeared to be smouldering. The dog walker turned to point towards the telephone booth and when he finally turned back to the man had vanished. Until that point he hadn’t paid much attention to the 191 rumours but was now soundly convinced.

There is also another report that travellers coming through O’Hare have seen a young man making a call from a booth, located close to the Fight 191 departure gate. He is said to take a few steps after finishing the call and then vanishes in front of their eyes (no I didn’t experience this).

Ghost Research said that they had got to the site, they hadn’t experienced anything unusual but did put up some ghost box recordings on their website. What you make of ‘spirit boxes’ is personal opinion but they were uploaded and linked on the site, along with a picture of the memorial.

Flight numbers are re-used all the time, airline geeks go into another theory about the flight number being cursed. Usually an incident or tragedy might well mean the number is retired but they found four connected incidents to the use of Flight 191.

1972, Puerto Rico on June 24th, was running late and the control tower at Mercedita was closed. The pilots communicated to an uncontrolled frequency and crashed into the runway. There were 20 people on the flight and five died, including two crewmen. The investigation was unable to each any conclusion about what had happened to cause the crash.

After the Chicago incident there was another Flight 91, Delta Airlines was going from Ft Lauderdale, Hollywood to LAX with a stop at Dallas. As the flew in they were starting to see thunderstorms but they were experienced pilots, they began the descent as the storms reached their peak. It was a mile short of the runway when it landed, it hit a car near the airport, two water tanks and then disintegrated.

The cause was a weather phenomenon known as a microburst, an increase in the headwind slowed it down, caused a severe downdraft and a strong tailwind caused the plane to speed up. It first hit the car and killed the occupant, it went out of control and upon crashing 137 people of the 163 onboard died. The third tragedy struck the 191 on the 2nd August, 1985.

21 years later, Flight 191 and a flight from Lexington, Kentucky set off towards Atlanta. Comairs Flight 191 set off on the morning of 27th August, 2006, and was assigned runway 22 but used runway 26 instead. 26 was too short to make a safe take off and this meant it overrun at the end of the runway. It crashed just past the end of the runway, it killed 47 passengers and two of the three crew onboard. The first officer was the only survivor. Ames Polehinke. The investigation concluded that the likely cause of the accident was pilot error, Captain Clay’s wife disputed this saying it was an under-staffed control tower and an inaccurate runway map.

Flight 191 has been kept in use and continues to be used by US airlines but its not the plane so you likely won’t need to worry about ghosts right?

Let’s be fair with the amount of flights in the modern world and airlines it is easy to associate a number with an accident. I googled my flight for Chicago which was 4146 and it seems that there was an accident for it too. 18th January 1988 there was a loss of all 108 passengers and crew onboard. Engine Number Four caught fire and then the flight in Chongwing, China, hit a power line and two farmhouses before it burst into flames. The engine fire was caused by an oil leak and it was blamed on poor maintenance. I am not inclined to believe in accidents being associated to numbers but more the airlines we place our faith in.

It hasn’t stopped me flying.

Wikipedia

americanhauntingsink.com

Chicago Tribune (now blocked in UK)

ghostresearch.org

airlinegeeks.com

planecrashinfo.com

mysteriousuniverse.org

IMG_0387

Dank old photo taken by me on a phone many years ago 🙂

 

The title related to a local Pittsburgh legend, a man called Charlie-No-Face. The story is that he was the employee of a power company and a downed power line disfigured him to the point that he would hide in an abandoned house. The story elaborates that he has a hole in his cheek and green skin. This ghostly tale of his sightings actually had a more natural and somewhat sadder explanation.

Raymond Robinson was born 29th October 1910, he died 11th June 1985. When Ray was 8 years old he was injured by an electrical line, on the Morado Bridge, when he tried to view a birds nest. The bridge carried a trolley and the electrical lines were 1,200 and 22,000 volts worth. The lines had killed another boy less than a year before.

The poor child was not expected to survive but he did, he suffered terrible scarring, lost his eyes, nose and one ear and one of his arms. He lived with his family in Koppel and made doormats, belts and wallets. His appearance meant that he would rarely venture outside during the day but he did go for walks along the quiet stretch of State Route 51, using a walking stick.

Locals would regularly gather up and search for him along the road, he would quite often hide from them but on occasion he would engage in conversation. Some of these people were inevitably cruel but that didn’t stop him from taking his walks. He had been struck by cars on more than one occasion and yet only stopped his walks in the later years of his life. He retired to the Beaver Country Geriatric Centre, at aged 74 years-old.

Raymond_Robinson_(Green_Man)

Pic courtesty of Wikipedia – creative commons.

I admit I went there and had no sense of anything spooky, just the overwhelming smell of the candy. I therefore amused myself by seeing some local tales about it and other reports of supposedly paranormal activity.

In April 1907 the park was officially opened and was a place for picnics and boating. Milton S Hershey created it for his employees at the candy factory and has been there since, it has grown and is now a modern day attraction for the public.

Some say that Hershey himself haunts the park, often rather than being reported as seen he is caught in the smell of cigar smoke when no-one else has one lit.

The #47 Carousel of the Philadelphia Toboggan Company found its place at the park and was moved from near Spring Creek to Founders Circle in 1972. Park Personnel have apparently reported lights that turn on themselves and the ride to have started up itself. The music of the Wurlitzer has been faintly heard when the ride is off.

An anecdote says a security officer who saw the lights on, went and turned them off and left, as he walked off the lights came back on and he turned around. The officer saw a shadowy figure and the officer went back to intercept an intruder, he could not find anyone.

There was once a swimming pool at the park, it was filled in during 1971 but the lighthouse there was kept. Several children had drowned in the pools and the children have been seen near the lighthouse oblivious of the modern changes.

William Harter’s death is the one that was documented and therefore merited a little more of my time. He was at the park in August 1977 as part of a summer vocational training programme. The ride struck and killed Harter after it moved, another maintenance worker was also injured. The Hershey Company was fined for two safety violations. There are some claims of his ghost there too, but I cannot really find anything more about it than that. It was a sad tragedy that a young apprentice died there but I don’t know if that really means the area is haunted by him.

The scariest part for me there was the flipping ride with the cow butts swishing!

Hersheypark view from Ferris Wheel, 2013-08-10

The Manila Film Centre is a national building located in Pasay City, in the Philippines. From 18th to the 29th of January 1982 the building was the main theatre for the 1st Manila International Festival. A great deal of consultation went into the building and over 4,000 workers working in shifts across 24 hours. Unisco’s input was considered invaluable in parts of the design.

In 1981 about 3am on the 17th November an awful accident occurred. The buildings scaffolding collapsed and at least 168 workers fell and were buried in the quick drying cement. Marcos administration immediately imposed security there and they would not allow rescuers or ambulances to the site. This was because they would not allow them on the site until an official statement had been prepared. They were finally allowed there nine hours later.

In 2005 GMA Network’s i-witness produced a documentary that stated all 168 workers were traced, a dozen died and the bodies were recovered for a proper burial. However there are stories that this was a cover up and that workers were willingly buried alive in the concrete.

The building had been leased on various occasions and is currently in use. In 2013, it had a three-hour fire that had costly damages but fortunately no casualties.

The events of 1981 have led to an urban legend that before rescuers made it in the workers there were entombed alive. The bodies were left in hardened concrete slabs and “spirit questors” confirmed that the spirits are crying out for their recovery and a proper burial.

I could find no particular experiences listed that could give me more about the paranormal side but probably because this is an urban legend that has sprang up around a tragedy.

Here is a little video about the history of the place.

A German submarine built in 1916 had trouble only a week after it was launched, mysterious events occurred and an unusually high number of fatalities occurred on board. The first of the events came when a steel beam swung out of position and the chains broke, it crashed to the ground and a worker there died immediately, a second died only two hours later from the injuries he had sustained.

When testing the vessel ready to be declared seaworthy they had further troubles, one of the crew members ended up swept overboard whilst inspecting the hatches. He was never seen again, presumed to have died in the accident.

Whilst loading torpedoes the Second Officer, Lieutenant Richter, was killed when one dropped and exploded. In the engine room a malfunction set off fumes that killed three men because no one reached them in time. During a storm a crewman went overboard, but onlookers said it looked more like he’d been pushed. On one occasion UB65 was preparing to dive and a crewman saw someone standing on deck. The figure turned his way and the lookout recognised him as the Second Officer that had been killed, his terrified yell meant the captain also saw it before it disappeared.

There were enough sightings around the sub it had the reputation of being haunted. It made it harder to get crewmen to work on her. A torpedo gunner witnessed something that disturbed him so much he jumped overboard, he had said that the ghost would torment him at night, his body was never recovered. In the end the German Naval Command felt forced to investigate and asked a priest to perform an exorcism.

July 10th 1918 it had all been quiet but that day a crewman claimed to have had a run in with the Second Officer. Later that day an American sub spotted the UB65 and prepared to attack; suddenly as they were making checks the UB65 sub exploded without warning and when the smoke cleared all they could see was debris and no survivors.

The results of the investigation showed that the UB65 had attempted to fire her torpedoes but there had been a malfunction and they exploded inside the submarine. In all accounts with the Second Officer it seems he had been trying to communicate with the crew, suggesting that he was trying to act as a death omen. Certainly it seems that for a two year life of a submarine she claimed quite a few lives.