Tragedy struck on Monday when a small aircraft slammed in to the ground outside Nashville, Tennessee. At 5:00 PM local time, eyewitnesses observed the single engine airplane nose dive out of the clouds. The aircraft sputtered as its propellers failed to properly oscillate. Onlookers recall the fuselage slamming to the ground, giving spectators a sight of flames that reached twenty feet in to the air. Showered debris and plumes of smoke accompanied the conflagration. Immediately, citizens rushed to the crash site. Emergency services mobilized and arrived swiftly. In the flames and embers, a family of four perished. Three of the four bodies were recovered.
The cause of the crash is still a mystery. Details have emerged that the plane was traveling from Great Bend, Kansas, to Nashville. The aircraft was a chartered flight and missed its initial approach to John C. Tune Airport. Many also recall the jet was flying abnormally low. Pilots, who are familiar with the region, attribute this to the poor weather conditions. Others speculate the plane was ill-equipped without de-icing measures, contributed to its demise.
Citizens of Nashville are grateful that the pilot of the doomed flight managed to avert crashing in to a nearby YMCA. The YMCA at the time had nearly 300 visitors in its facilities. Needless to say, a collision between the jet and the building would have been catastrophic. There were other landmarks the pilot could have crashed in to, as well. These sites included a retirement community and health clinic. The plane managed to miss these, too. The carnage would have only enumerated more, but clearly the pilot was talented. He managed to collide with some trees, averting all structures and residences before slamming in to the ground. However, Nashville residents were left with a chilling possibility of a worst-case scenario, exhibiting the cars damaged from the crash in the YMCA parking lot. The proximity truly hit close to home.
“It’s a miracle it didn’t hit anything,” said Tim Dial who recalled the crash. Dial was watching a movie when he heard the low-flying plane rumble overhead. Seconds later, Dial witnessed the fiery crash and wreckage that followed.
Authorities say there is no reason to believe there was any foul play involved in this accident. The deceased family has not been identified yet. The FAA and National Transportation Safety Board are continuing the investigation. All that remains now are a scorched fuselage and a heartbreaking reality.
In the wake of this Nashville tragedy, many are grateful for a situation that could have been far worse. The community mourns the loss of the four who died in the crash, yet they celebrate that no more lives were lost. From this, the importance of equipping planes to handle a variety of challenges is essential. In history, there have been far too many occurrences of unprepared or ill-fitted vessels that succumbed to the elements. The most infamous was in 1912, when an unsinkable ship hit an iceberg off the coast of Newfoundland. The Nashville plane crash does not compare on that scale of calamity. But it does impart a common motive, the importance of safety. Fortunately in this case, knowledge prevented what could have been a far greater debacle.
By Keith Fuchs