FLIGHT 621 | Toronto's Largest Air Disaster *** REVISED ***
ONE OF A FEW book cover mock-ups I'm considering for my book about Flight 621.
This is the only one I'll be showing. For now. I like another mock-up I did… that I feel is much better, more sombre, reflective… but I'm always curious about feedback.
So have your say, below, if you wish.
I was reviewing an OPP police photographer's 40 year old Flight 621 crash photos recently, when I saw something in one of the photos.
So I called Mike and said, "Mike, tell me, tell me, THAT ISN'T what I think it is."
After, both his wife, Audrey and he looked over the photo in question, the sad response came back.
"I think you're right, Paul."
I thought to myself, God… always prepares the way. And you won't see that until you're right in the middle of it. If you see it at all. Whatever He has, later for you… to be right in the middle of.
Only six months ago I was watching the excellent series about World War II, entitled, "The World at War" which, of course, is the definitive documentary about that war. Had I not seen the plentiful war stills of the battleground deceased, I might never have spotted "the clue".
But half a year later, there I was… now "prepared" to make an unsettling discovery.
"Paul, you're right… it is a little girl. I don't know how I didn't see that before!"
Mike had taken the photos forty years ago, yet had somehow missed that sad detail.
Those World at War documentary stills had captured so many soldiers, then at rest, with deceased hands launched in so many distinctive angles and positions that I guess my mind was imprinted with these sad images.
When I chanced upon similar in Mike's photo… I was compelled to look closer.
So, in the Flight 621 photo, I saw her peaceful hand, emerging from a sleeve, and lifelessly draped over an inner tubular structural piece of smashed DC-8.
I followed the hand to its source.
Somebody's little girl was sitting there, right there… in her final resting spot.
Her thick black hair, untossled. A defiant, thick, white hair tie-back-clip could readily be seen, keeping her hair perfectly in place amidst the horror!
The clip, however, could actually be one of those funky 70s style pair of big glasses pulled back over her forehead.
We'll never know.
I sat, in silence, with that photo for quite a while.
The picture was taken in the first hour of the crash. There are police officers and first responders busily walking around in the background, obviously, oblivious, to her.
I bet that didn't last long.
She is right out in the open, but also concealed within a medium sized mangled piece of fuselage wreckage! And somehow, she remained INTACT!
How did that happen?
I imagine that within the second hour, maybe the third, after these first hour photos were taken, she was found.
Likely, someone just walking by who had to do a double-take.
What a horrible, horrible, discovery.
It certainly was, for me. And I was only looking at a photo.
I'll be interviewing an OPP first responder this weekend. John Cooper. He was there the first day of the crash and also the second.
I'll keep you posted.
Finally, THE COVER above…that's how 621 looked seconds before impact. She corkscrewed over onto her back. This remains the primary reason why there are no crash photos of the wrecked Air Canada DC-8-63 with her tail readily seen… as one can see in most airliner disasters these days. The tail is usually spared in every airline disaster.
Nothing was spared when Flight 621 crashed in Castlemore, Ontario on July 5, 1970.
Friday, July 30, 2010
FLIGHT 621 | Toronto's Largest Air Disaster *** REVISED ***
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
The Last Will and Testament of brothers Jacques and Jean Belanger
"IF WE DIE, WE GIVE…"
POUPONNE, MY CAT, I leave to Mionne Mallette.
Sports equipment to Daniel and Benoit Maillette. My typewriter to Evelyne Mallette, and my coin collection from Expo´67 to Jason Gagnon. Jacque's tape recorder to Norman Dupres. Handkerchief to Denis Perrault. Jean's Apollo XI rocket to Pierre Guertin…and so on…until all of his toys and possessions, and those of his younger brother, Jean (12), were given up to his friends and cousins.
Jacques (16) was mesmerized with the progress of aviation at the time.
The teenager knew about aviation, first hand, as his father was currently an Air Canada mechanic. So Jacques was really excited that he, indeed his whole family, would be flying on a brand new DC-8 "Stretch'…the very largest, and most advanced airliner at the time.
And yet, there was something wrong.
Did Jacques have a premonition?
Why did he think he might not return?
What did he feel?
Why did he insist on making a will, and giving it to his cousin, and best friend, Jean Mallette, just before boarding Air Canada Flight 621?
I'm sure Jacques' family made jokes about his insistence on creating a will for both him, and his brother. Their sister, Rosanne (10) did not create a will. I wonder what the Belanger family thought and said to one another…as they sat together on the ill-fated airplane, and events tragically unfolded. The knowing looks; the sad heads shaking.
Did his mother acknowledge, as mothers so often do when their own children amaze them, "Oh Jacques…you were right!"
These preceding paragraphs are only speculation but you can be sure some sort of exchange occurred.
On July 5th, 1970, at 8:10 am in the morning, Air Canada Flight 621 crashed in a farmer's field beside the West Humber, in Castlemore, Ontario nose first, left wing high…killing all 109 passengers and crew. A caged dog also perished.
And the whole Belanger family, all five of them, died together in Castlemore, 40 years ago.
Flight 621 In Memorium
Adams, Celine Fradette
Adams, Pierre J
Cedilot, Robert J
Charent, Jean Maurice
Clarke, Devona Olivia
Dicaire, Alice (Marie)
Goulet, Denise M
Hamilton, Karen E
Hamilton, Peter Cameron
Herrmann, Ronald Alvin
Hill, Harry Gordon
Houston, Irene Margaret
Jakobsen, Vagn Aage
Leclaire, Marie Rose
Leduc, Henri W
Mailhiot, Claire Gagnon
Mailhiot, Gerald Bernard
Molino, Michael (Michel)
Moore, Frederick T
Partridge, Carnie (Carnis) Ann
Partridge, Cyril Wayne
Phillips, Kenneth William
Robert, Georges E
Smith, Dwight Lee
St. Laurent, Blanche
Stepping, Glenn Thomas
Sultan, Jerald. M
Sultan, Robert. L
Tournovits, Soula (Athanasia)
Whybro, Mary Baker
Wong, Wong (Mansing)
Woodward, Dallas J
© 1970 Mike Quatrale (OPP police photographer)
© Pierre Tremblay - Friends of Flight 621
© Paul Cardin - Friends of Flight 621
Monday, July 5, 2010
FLIGHT 621 VICTIM'S FAMILIES lay 109 white roses representing the 109 people who lost their lives on July 5, 1970.
Diarmuid Horgan (CANDEVCON Limited) and the landowners put together this 40th Anniversary Ceremony to bring the victim families together for the first time, to mark this solemn occasion together…and not alone…this year!
I PLANTED the Mayor of Brampton, Susan Fennell's flower, at her request…and everyone followed suit by either planting or laying their white rose down.
The flowers mark the spot where Flight 621 went nose first into the ground.
It was very hard for many of the families to EVEN THINK about coming to Ground Zero.
However, after Eric Weiczorek gave his heart-wrenching speech about the tender love he had for his wife, a wife who was taken from him after only 33 days of marriage, that just brought the house down.
Eric had been waiting 40 years to share his sorrow with those who understood.
He was now in good company.
The Flight 621 families understood.
Left to Right: Chris and Mike Holiday (Claude Holiday), Sikh land-owner, Lucie and Véronique Raymond (Marital Raymond) and the FAMOUS Boris Spremo!
The Weinburgs (Wendy, Carla, and Rita) are in the background.
Persons in brackets are the Flight 621 deceased… and the reason why the 621 families marked the 40th anniversary loss right here… at the former crash site.
See Mike Strobel's excellent Flight 621 article: