Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Toronto Pearson Air France Crash Miracle

Just learnt of an Air France plane crash at Pearson Airport. Will be blogging about this.

What happened: An Air France plane bound for Toronto from Paris has crashed while landing in Pearson Airport. It skidded off the runway and burst into flames, but everyone on board survived. This happened near highway 401, Canada's busiest motorway.

Fatality Watch: At first they were saying 200 deaths but then learnt that there were NO fatalities, everyone got out unscratched. Then learnt that there were 301 on board and all were safe (BBC), with only 14 minor injuries. Later the number of passengers was reported on CNN to be 297.

UPDATE (8.56 pm) on CBC: The number of injuries has grown to 43. I will be surprised if the count of fatalities remains at 0 (I hope it does). The total number of passengers has gone up to 309.

News Watch: BBC's headline at this moment is "Passengers survive plane inferno". CNN has "All 309 survive fiery crash landing", while Fox says it best (I never thought I would be praising Fox) - "Miracle in Toronto". While I am sorry for the crash, Toronto seems to be the top news on every news network at the moment, and words like miracle, efficient, circumspect, early Christmas are all making the rounds.

Links: BBC, CNN, Fox, CBC.

When Did I Hear About It: I must have been one of the last Torontonians to hear about it. I was listening to 680 news at 4:01 pm (traffic report). Then I switched to my music CD all the way to the gym. Crash happened at 4:03 pm. Was in the gym till 6. While on the treadmill I did see some news on a TV about some flames beside a highway. But the audio wasn't on, and I didn't have my glasses, and I thought it was about some automobile crash on 401 and thanked my luck that I was already out of the roads. At around 8 I checked the news and got the shock of my life.

News Watch 2: As usual the Canadian news networks were pointing out how efficient the emergency crews were, how ordinary Canadians rose to help, how other passengers in other airports were not bothered by the delays. Americans were more into the 'miracle' thing, as well as talking about airport procedures in the States and what were differences with Canadians. Also, they took pains to point out where Toronto was, and where, I kid you not, Canada was relative to the US. It was left to the BBC to be the professional, giving out facts, figures. It was also funny to hear from the eye witnesses, who seemed to have different accounts of the crash (understandable). One guy said the plane bumped up and down and it was the 'worst roller coaster ever'.

UPDATE (10.39 pm): It's now getting late and it does seem there really are no fatalities, which is an excellent news. The number of injured remain at 43. Aaron Brown on CNN has an in-depth look at this news. CNN really is overkill.

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