Tuesday, 17 July 2018


All Four Engines Have Failed: The True And Triumphant Story Of Flight Ba 009 And The 'Jakarta Incident'
By Betty Tootell

The trepidation and dread of it. Trapped in a plane, hovering among the clouds as it were...the craft rocking to and fro...realising that the ultimate disaster beckons: a shattering plane crash! 

Such aerial mishaps we often assume to be terminal and fatal. Imagine the plight, the thoughts, the acute psychological agony of both crew and passengers at such a time. Inadvertently we are soon going to meet our Maker. Fervent, melancholic prayers, some managing to scribble "last notes" to loved ones... hoping that such notes would survive the crash and be read by the missus, kids etc...

After all it's been announced that the engines of the plane - all four of them are no longer working! The end is nigh...implacable rocks in sight...but what if they manage to turn the plane around, and somehow land it in the sea?...the waters? Alas, where would the rescue come from? Horrid deaths by marine creatures like the sharks, a fetid, rippling crunching finale! Which one is better, horrific swift death with the plane hitting the rocks, or death in the waters?

Such horrors no doubt swirled on the crew and passengers in this particular flight (real life), subject of this trenchant book. In passing, what a splendid job the flight attendants orchestrate even in the face of death, glimpsing the precipice, as they continually assure the passengers that all would be fine, smiling, guiding, patting them all (don't panic!) Whilst knowing all too well that their own sojourn on earth would likely end very soon.

Yes, plane disasters, or near plane disasters happen intermittently all over the world, but really, it's the pertinent ones in board who can understand the horror, the trauma, the pathos they go through. Transcendental Dread. And so it is here. The plane seemingly on fire, all the engines not working, imminent disaster! Yet to our relief (as readers) miracle - miracles - happen. Somehow the engines work to avert certain disaster (short-lived) and even the plane has to be landed manually. Successfully! Glee, tears, fulsome celebrations all over. Jabulani !!! as we say in Africa. What a story. Kudos to everybody involved here, and of course the polished author...

- Eric Malome'

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