January 21, 2009
The other day I took a little quiz which listed fearless as "my word". Well, I am definitely NOT fearless when it comes to one specific subject; PLANES.
I have suffered from fear of flying pretty much after my first flight ever, which I took with my family, when I was sixteen. As a young woman I did fly, even though I was terrified. Each plane trip meant terrible feelings of anxiety and anticipation of certain death during the weeks ahead of the flight. I will not bore you with the possible reasons behind my aerophobia. Let say it is a combination of claustrophobia, fear of a loss of control and problems I at one point experienced in my personal life.
In any case, over the years, this fear progressed and it was not made any easier by the media. Every time an accident occurred, the news channels were full of dramatic pictures and lengthy, hour long broadcasting and reports depicting and dissecting the tragedy.
Therefore at one point I stopped flying all together.
In recent years though, I have started to entertain the thought of boarding a plane again. I guess mostly due to the fact that I still like to travel. I like to see and experience countries, which I can only visit if I fly.
And it helps a great deal, when miracle "accident" landings do indeed happen, like the one involving a US Airways flight last Thursday, when it ditched successfully into the Hudson river, with zero fatalities. And miracle is the correct term, may I add.
In Danish press, this incident has brought focus back on one similar occurrence, which happened on December 27th in 1991, involving an SAS plane. The Danish captain Stefan G. Rasmussen experienced problems with the planes engines immediately after take off from Stockholm Airport, Arlanda. Within minutes both engines stopped and he managed miraculously to land the plane, by gliding it over treetops and putting it down in a snowy landscape. Although the plane broke up, all the passengers survived. This incident is known as the Gottröra crash, and sometimes it is also called "The Gottröra Miracle".
Mr. Rasmussen later wrote a book about this experience.
He never flew again.