A long line. A flight attendant's predictions of turbulence. A connecting flight delay. The mystery of an opening in the room. Luck. The providence of God.
Continental Flight 3407 has generated varied responses from the people who might have died in its fiery crash but, for some reason, did not. Forty-nine people aboard the flight died as did one person on the ground in the house beneath the crash near Buffalo. However, a number of others somehow “cheated death” as it brushed near. Their reactions stimulate a single question: Why?
David Becony missed the flight from Newark to Buffalo because bad weather had delayed his earlier flight from New Orleans to Newark. He says now, “God was looking over me.” Paul Twaragowski encountered the same circumstances and says, “I can only thank God that I wasn't on that flight and my thoughts and prayers are with families and friends for those that were.” His mother, Louise, says, “God was with us all.”
Jeff Smith and his family of four planned to be on Flight 3407 as they headed to Buffalo for a mid-winter retreat from their home in Palm Beach. But a flight attendant warned him not to take the flight because it expected turbulence and his children would not enjoy the experience. The attendant's haunting words echo through Jeff Smith's mind: "For the sake of your children I wouldn't get on that flight.” The Smiths took a later flight. Jeff says, "I don't think it's really sunk in yet, how fortunate we are.”
Susan Reinhardt tried to get on Flight 3407 when her own earlier flight to Buffalo was indefinitely delayed out of Newark. The long customer service line dissuaded her from making the change. While there, Reinhardt met another woman with a seat on Flight 3407. That woman stayed on 3407; Reinhardt did not get her wish to be on it. One perished; Reinhardt cheated death. She asks, “What is the meaning of my life now? What am I supposed to do because it wasn't my time?”
Karen Wielinski and her family live in the home that unwittingly received the nose-diving plane. She was watching television, and “...the next thing I knew, the ceiling was on me and I just, I didn't know how much was on top of me. So I was panicking a little, but trying to stay cool, and happened to notice a little light on the right of me...” Karen and her daughter, Jill, escaped through the hole of that light. Karen's husband, Doug, did not get out.