Friday, February 16, 2007

Air heroes

Up in the air, if you run into trouble, there's not a lot you can do... except—if the worst comes to the worst—fall to your death. Today, we hear of the deeds of two air heroes, whose praise must be sung.

The first is an Air Mauritania pilot of a Boeing 737 named Ahmedou Mohamed Lemine. Realizing that the hijacker of his plane did not speak French, the pilot announced a plan over the public-address system. He informed French-speaking passengers that, as soon as the aircraft touched ground at Las Palmas (Spain's Canary Islands), he intended to brake violently and then accelerate just as abruptly. The plot was perfect. The hijacker, standing in the middle aisle, fell on his arse, dropping his pistols. The flight attendants then poured boiling coffee on his silly face, and a dozen passengers manhandled the dazzled ex-hijacker while the plane was taxying, transforming him into an ideal airmail package for delivery to the local police. All's well that ends well.

The second air heroine is the German paraglider Ewa Wisnierska who, in the sky of New South Wales, survived miraculously after being sucked by a thunderstorm to an altitude higher than Mount Everest. The account of what happened to Ewa is frankly unbelievable... but that's what miracles are all about. Once again: All's well that ends well.

An air hero: Ahmedou Mohamed Lemine. An air heroine: Ewa Wisnierska. The next time I fly, I'll be thinking of both of you.

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