“It’s hard to believe what I saw was real.”
I could barely hear what was on the radio due to all the honking from the goddamn traffic jam. It’s usually bad—but shit—I was sitting in the same spot for like 45 minutes without moving an inch. I even put the car in park because it seemed like it was going to stay jammed up for a while.
It’s a good thing I made sure my phone was fully charged before I went on this venture; it’s been my only salvation. And without it, I never would’ve saw the news about the plane blowing an engine while on its way to the airport. Apparently it was in the vicinity and police blocked off the highway in case of an emergency landing.
The news said it wasn’t quite sure what caused the malfunction, but there was less than a 50-50 chance the pilots would be able to make it to the airport. Since I wasn’t going anywhere for awhile I decided to poke my head out the window to see if I could make out anything. I know the airport was a good distance away, but I thought something like a flaming airplane might be kind of hard to miss. Other people must’ve seen the news as well because a bunch heads started popping out of their cars trying to spot the plane, too.
Someone far ahead in the traffic jam started screaming—which rattled everyone’s nerves. It became horrifically obvious the plane was going to crash: the huge cloud of black smoke streaking down from the sky was a dead giveaway. It looked far away at first, but it seemed like the acrid cloud was heading right for us. I looked behind me at the open field and realized the pilots must’ve been trying to land there—and we were all in the way.
It became a mad scramble as everyone on the highway left their cars to escape the aircraft’s path. But it was coming in too fast and didn’t take long for impact—leaving very little time to make an escape. Luckily, the gigantic jet skimmed right over our heads and missed hitting the highway.
I’m not sure what was more surreal, the thunderous boom from the plane crashing in the open field, or the heat from the ensuing fireball and charred remains blasting us from such a great distance. Jagged flaming hunks of metal rained down upon us from the sky. It was like hell on Earth. I managed to crawl under my truck before being struck by anything. Others weren’t so lucky.
I’m not sure how long I stood there watching the black smoke pouring out from the field after everything had settled; It could have been 5 minutes or an hour. In that moment time stood still.
Everything felt like it was off in the distance; I couldn’t quite see or hear anything. I didn’t realize where I was until the paramedics grabbed my arm and escorted me to one of the many ambulances at the scene. There were so many of them—but still nowhere enough to treat all of the wounded. It’s hard to believe what I saw was real. I don’t think the shock has worn off yet. I never thought I would be a survivor of something so horrendous.
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