Partner of a Pilot
The Candid Diary of an Airline Pilot’s Girlfriend

Deepest sympathy for the families friends and colleagues of those involved in the Air France AF447 crash


As a pilot’s significant other, I always feel a sense of loss when I hear news of an air crash.  I have to say that the news of the Air Franceflight AF 447 that went down yesterday hit me more profoundly than any other so far, purely because I heard about it by text message from a friend who also happens to be the wife of one of Bf’s colleagues.

I was out with my boys at the time, enjoying a rare day with just me and them, as Bf had taken Baby to the beach, and as promised I took them to the Science museum (yes, that seemed the wrong way around to me too).  But that’s what the boys wanted to do…

I got the text, and it read:

“OMG-Have you heard the news? An aircraft has come down over the Atlantic ocean. Shit! X”

Well, I’m not sure why my brain interpreted it the way it did (possibly because I have in the past received a similar text from someone who’s hubby was the pilot of a flight that encountered an incident within his airline) but I just somehow got it into my head that she had texted me this way because it was one of ‘ours’.  I frantically tried to call her, but my calls kept diverting.

I felt sick, wondering if any of the crew Bf or I knew were on board, wondering how many of Bf’s colleagues would be involved. Hoping that, by some fluke it had landed safely but unexpectedly in the Azores Islands.  The boys asked me what I was upset about, and I explained my concerns to them. 

It was only then, that someone, a foreign man who had overheard, approached me and informed me that it was in fact an Air France flight.  I asked what happened, and he looked at my children and quietly asked if he should say? I nodded, and he told me that it just ‘dissapeared’ in the middle of the Atlantic!  He personally feared an explosion of some kind, but I do not want to speculate. 

I was immediately flooded with mixed reactions, I could feel tears welling up in my eyes, and a giant lump in my throat: relief that it wasn’t Bf’s airline after all, followed immediately by guilt for feeling relieved (because it meant that someone else would feel the upset instead), sadness and overwhelming shock… Then he told me that he was in fact cabin crew for a partner airline of Air France, and we stood together and shared a moment of mutual shock and sadness that I cant really capture in words. We didn’t say much. I don’t think either of us knew what to say to each other.

He was clearly shaken and wanted to talk to someone, apparently his family had been frantic until he rang them to tell them he was okay (he was himself on a layover in London from a trans-Atlantic flight).  He said he had to back across the Atlantic in a similar plane tomorrow (today) and that he was unsure how all this would affect him. I really didn’t know what to say. Words seemed so inept and lame, and, the kids were with me. I told him that I hoped everything would be okay for him, and that I would be thinking of him today, and here I am, keeping my word.

I have never before appreciated how it must feel to be the partner of a pilot who belongs to an airline that was unfortunate enough to bear such a tragic loss, and I didn’t want to write about it this way until some news of wreckage had been found, which it is my understanding-is now the case… 

My deepest and most sincere regrets go to the families of all those involved with this incident, but also to those who will suffer the sadness and loss within the airline itself.  I only now start to trully feel a sense, albeit fractionally, of how devastating and deeply shocking it must be.

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