For most people August 16 was just a day. But there are still some people who remember this day as the day in 2005 that one hundred fifty-two people died aboard a MD-82 near Machiques Venezuela. First one engine failed, then the second. After both engines flamed out, Flight 708 requested an emergency landing from Machiques ATC, but pilots lost control and within three minutes, crashed in a swampy area in a cattle ranch. The Bureau d’Enquêtes et d’Analyses pour la Sécurité de l’Aviation Civile (BEA) Investigation found the cause was human error due to in-flight problems from poorly paid, stressed Caribbean Airways crew working with poor communication.
One hundred and fifty-two French citizens from Martinique, and Colombian crew of eight were lost. It has gone down in the record books as the biggest crash in Venezuelan history, and the worst accident in 2005. In the distant photo of this accident, we cannot help but see how small and frail the craft looks. Like a toy of broken matchsticks lying broken on the ground. Sometimes we should remember that we are creatures of land, and have given ourself wings. The tragedy that we sometimes fail does overshadow sometimes that itt is a marvel that we fly.
It is the job of the investigation to find the cause to help make future flight safer; but when we remember a date such as this, it is a time to remember the passengers and crew. It is time to remember and console the families who survive them.
Whatever the cause, tragedies wear the same face of irreparable loss. It is not only France and Colombia that mourned the loss of their citizens. When tragedies happen, all the nations of the world mourn. So let us pause in our day and remember those who are lost to us; and take the time to remember John Donne “Any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankind; And therefore, never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.”