It’s August 2, 1985
Delta Airlines domestic flight 191 had originally taken off from Fort Lauderdale, Florida and is scheduled to complete it’s trip in Los Angeles after a brief stop over at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.
The plane is a Lockheed L-1011-385-1 Tristar.
The Captain is Edward N. Connors, (57 years) and he had been flying with the airline since 1954. His First Officer is Rudolph P. Price Jnr, (42 years).
Other Delta Captains who had the pleasure of flying with Price, described him as a competent, above average first officer, possessing excellent knowledge of the Tristar.
It was First Officer Price who was in control of the plane.
Onboard are 152 passengers and 11 crew.
Also on this particular flight is Mary Ann Estridge and her husband Don Estridge. Don was the driving force/developer behind the Original IBM Personal Computer. Jean Hancock, sister of Musician Herbie Hancock also had a seat, along with youngster Richard Laver and his father Ian, brother of Australian tennis legend Rod (Rocket) Laver.
The control tower gives the order for the flight to decend to 10,000 feet.
Captain Conners: Well, I’m looking at a cell at about a heading of 255. It’s a pretty good sized cell and I’d rather not go through it, I’d rather go around it one way or the other.
After a brief conversation, they are assigned a new heading. The flight is given permission to go around the storm, rather than directly through it. Once clear of it, the plane will line up for a landing on runway 17L.
Three miles ahead of Flight 191 is a corporate Learjet flown by Captain Rufus Lewis. His plane is also on approach to Runway 17L.
Flight 191 is getting too close to the Learjet and is ordered to slow down to 180 knots.
Flight 191 is now only 50 km from the runway, so the cabin crew begin preparations for landing.
RICHARD LAVER – His own account of that day
It was the night before the accident, Richard sat down to dinner with his mother, and he recalls telling her that the plane was going to crash.
Richard was a frequent flyer, having travelled all over the world, but this day was very different. He reluctantly headed off to the airport with his father. They were on there way to a tennis tournament. This time he was very nervous. Richard had never been scared to fly in his life.
He together with his father got onto the flight and he remembers the skies were blue and crystal clear. Conditions were favourable.
Richards father sat back in his chair and was soon transfixed on a John Wayne movie. Richard on the other hand was looking out to the right of him and through the window saw what appeared to be a storm cell. When he saw that storm cell, he immediately got worried and needed a trip to the bathroom. Whilst in there, he splashed water on his face and looked into the mirror and something came over him. He just knew that the plane was going to crash.
Richard then returned to his seat, sat down and left his seatbelt unhitched.
An announcement came over the PA from the pilot that they may have to circle around and possibly land at another airport. So the stewards began preparing the passengers for landing. A female flight attendant was approaching Richard to check that all people had their seatbelts fastened, and Richard purposely didn’t fasten his, rather grabbed a blanket and pulled it up and over the buckle so she couldn’t see it.
The next recollection Richard has is lying a field, having been thrown 50 yards clear of the plane. Both he and his father were seated right where the plane split. Later it would be determined that having his seatbelt un-buckled actually saved his life. Sadly everyone including his father in that row perished in the crash.
Richard found himself in shock, he couldn’t speak or move. People from the hwy nearby who ran over to assist were looking for survivors at the tail end of the plane near the water towers.
One passer by watched the plane hit a car and crash. He decided to go through the fence, got all cut up doing so and then saw Richards hand the only part of him visible as he was submerged under water. He grabbed his hand and pulled him out. That’s when his rescuer said, “Your going to be ok”.
Richard recalls, his physical injuries healed faster than his psychological ones.
Over the years, Richard has asked himself, Why did I survive? Why am I still here? In fact everyone asks themselves that question after a while, it’s part of the maturation process,” Laver said.
The plane touched down 6,000 feet short of the runway and 360 feet to the left of the runway centerline, became airborne again, struck a car killing the driver, crossed the highway and crashed into two water tank reservoirs.
The severed rear section of the plane is where most survivors are found although flight attendants at the front also survive.
Of the 163 passengers and crew 132 died upon impact, with 31 injured. Two passengers later died in hospital whilst receiving care.
This article is dedicated to them.
THE CREW (DECEASED)
ALFORD, Fran, Miami.
ARTZ, Freida, Miami.
CONNORS, Edward M., Atlanta, The Captain.
JOHNSON, Diane, Miami.
LEE, Alyson, Miami.
MODZELEWSKI, Joan, Miami.
NASSICK, Nick N., 44 Decatur, Ga Second Officer.
PRICE, Rudy P., 43 Atlanta, First Officer.
AGELOFF, Scott, Miami.
ANDERSON, Carrie, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
ANDERSON, Curtis, Fort Lauderdale.
BAILIE, Ronald, San Fernando Valley, Calif.
BANNER, T., San Francisco.
BANNER (infant), San Francisco.
BARNES, Joanne, Del Ray Beach, Fla.
BARNES, Kara, Del Ray Beach.
BARNES, Moses, Del Ray Beach.
BATTISTI, Christine, Boca Raton, Fla..
BERNSTEIN, Sidney, Fort Lauderdale.
BHATTI, D., Fort Lauderdale.
BHATTI, R., Fort Lauderdale.
BHATTI, B., Fort Lauderdale.
BLOUCH, Mark, Fort Lauderdale.
BOEKELOO, Jack, Fort Lauderdale.
BOEKELOO, Pat, Fort Lauderdale.
BROWN, Cindy, Belleflower, Calif.
BROWN, Darlene, Chicago.
BROWN, G., Hollywood, Fla..
BROWN, J., Fort Lauderdale area.
BROWNSTEIN, Mrs. M., Margate, Fla..
CAPRIELIAN, Arthur, Oakland Park, Fla.
CAPRIELIAN, Mrs. Pransy, Oakland Park.
CASSEDY, Kevina, Los Angeles.
CHAPFIELD, V., Boynton Beach, Fla.
CHERKAS, M., address unknown.
CHERKAS, Anne, 74, West Palm Beach, Fla.
CLARK, James Paul, Atlanta.
COLLEY, Mary K., Dallas.
DAHL, Steve, Sandy, Utah.
DOUGLAS, Michael, Tulsa, Okla.
DOYLE, Deanna, 25, Amarillo, Tex.
EDELMAN, M., Fort Lauderdale.
EPSTEIN, Mike, Boston.
ESTRIDGE, Philip D., Boca Raton.
ESTRIDGE, Mrs. P., Boca Raton.
FABRIELLO, Joe, Atlanta.
FIELDS, Christopher, Los Angeles.
FIELDS, Rachel, Los Angeles.
FLANIGAN, Charles, Hollywood, Fla..
FLANIGAN, Roslind, Hollywood, Fla..
FRAZIER, B., address unknown.
GILLIARD, Zohniffer, Atlanta.
GOLDBERG, A., Fort Lauderdale.
GOLDMAN, Max, Fort Lauderdale.
GUFFEY, Glenda, Coconut Creek, Fla.
GUTERMA, Marc, Mesa, Colo..
HANCOCK, Jean C., Half Moon Bay, Calif.
HASSELHORST, Charles J., Hermosa Beach, Calif.. HIRONAKA, Aimee, California.
HIRONAKA, Anne, Monterey Park, Calif.
HOOKE, Ramone Robert, Tustin, Calif.
HUNTER, Kyle, Salt Lake City.
IBARGUENGCITIA, Fernando, San Antonio, Tex.
JONES, Larry, Los Angeles.
JOSHUA, Yamisse, Los Angeles.
JURKOWSKI, Pnuong, Fort Lauderdale.
KAISER, K., Fort Lauderdale area.
KATZ, Seth, Los Angeles.
KLEIN, Alex, Fort Lauderdale.
KLEIN, Mrs. A., Fort Lauderdale.
KNICHER, Jane, Deerfield Beach, Fla..
KOLE, Thomas S., Phoenix.
KRUGER, Earl, Los Angeles.
KRIEGER, Dennis, Los Angeles.
KUJAWA, John, Plantation, Fla..
LACKEY, William, Little Rock, Ark.
LAMBSON, Sylvia, Fort Lauderdale.
LARSEN, William Gale, Plano, Tex.
LAVER, Ian, Delray Beach.
LAWRENCE, Scot, Fort Lauderdale area.
LEVER, Evelyn, Fort Lauderdale.
MAHSEREJIAN, Mark, Fort Lauderdale.
MAHSEREJIAN, Susan, Fort Lauderdale.
MILLER, David, Miami.
MILLER, Nancy, Miamai.
McLAUGHLIN, D., Sandy, Utah.
MONBERG, Lawrence, Sea Ranch Lakes, Fla.
MOORE, Donald, Valencia, Calif.
MOORE, F., Sunrise, Fla.
MOORE, S., Sunrise.
NEEL, Kim, Los Angeles.
NIDA, Randall Lee, Davie, Fla.
O’RIELLY, K., Brisbane, Australia.
PACE, Thomas, Boca Raton.
PERDARIS, Peter, Olathe, Kansas.
PHILLIPS, Nikki, Fort Lauderdale.
PERRY, Jan, Fort Lauderdale.
POLK, Sabrina, Los Angeles.
PUGH, W.D., San Francisco.
REYNOLDS, Paul, Fort Lauderdale.
REYNOLDS, Brian, Fort Lauderdale.
SALMON, Paul B., 66, Pasadena, Calif.
SANDERS, Steven, Los Angeles.
SCHMIDT, Mary H., Boca Raton.
SCHWARTZ, Kurt, Oklahoma City.
SEGAL, F., West Palm Beach.
SHAVER, Lori, Fort Lauderdale.
SHAW, Edith, Boynton Beachh.
SHAWL, C., Boca Raton.
SHEARER, Vickie C., Bountiful, Utah.
SHEEHAN, Mrs. Robin, Danville, Calif.
SHEEHAN, Ryan, Danville.
SHEEHAN (infant), Danville.
SHOECRAFT, Milt, Los Angeles.
SILVERMAN, F., Palm Beach.
STANSBURG, Robert, Long Beach, Calif.
STRUSSER, Fran, Santa Monica, Calif.
SULKIN, Jameson, Colorado Springs, Colo.
SULMONETTI, Jayne, Houston.
THOMPSON, Jane, Boca Raton.
THOMPSON, Evan, Boca Raton.
VERDICCHIO, Bob, Dallas.
WARNER, Jeff, Fort Lauderdale.
WENER, Mrs. Leonard, Pompano Beach, Fla..
WHITE, Ron, Mesquite, Tex.
WILLIS, Angela G., Hollywood, Fla.
WILSON, A.W., Rolling Hills Estates, Calif.
WILSON, Cathy, Coral Springs, Fla.
WRIGHT, Deborah, Sherman Oaks, Calif.
ZARNT, Julie, Fort Lauderdale.
SURVIVING CREW MEMBERS
AMATULLI, Jenny, 35, Miami.
CHAVIS, Vickie, 29, Miami.
ROBINSON, Wendy, 23, West Palm Beach, Fla.
COKE, Paul, 62, Phoenix.
DEWITT, Mark, Dallas.
EDWARDS, Annie, Pompano Beach.
FORD, Kathy, 35, Fort Worth.
FREEMAN, Gregory, 46, Boca Raton.
GARCIA, Anita, 23, Miami.
GOLDBERG, Jean, 75, Pompano Beach.
GOODKID or GOODKIN, Andrea, 16, Fort Lauderdale.
GREEN, Gilbert, Fort Lauderdale.
HARRIS, Ron, Oklahoma City.
KATZ, Debbie, 40, Fort Lauderdale.
KATZ, Robert, 42, Fort Lauderdale.
KELLER, Alvin, 36, Henderson, Nev.
LAPETTUS, Greg, 23, Miami Beach.
LEDFORD, Esther, Fort Lauderdale.
LAVER, Richard, 12, Delray Beach.
MALOY, John, 29, Redondo Beach, Calif.
MARSH, Elizabeth, Deerfield Beach.
MEIER, Christopher John, Temple, Tex.
MOORE, John K., Lookout Mountain, Tenn.
SEGAL, Sidney, 76, West Palm Beach.
SLUSHER, Jay, 33, Phoenix.
STEINBERG, Marilyn, Miami.
STEINBERG, Mike, Miami.
VISICH, Mark, 60.
WARNER, Leonard, 64, Pompano Beach.
WILLIAMS, Juanita, 55, Pompano Beach.
WRIGHT, Kathleen, 49, Fort Lauderdale.