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When one hears the words “sole survivor” it tends to conjure up many feeling and emotions. For the families and loved ones hearing that there is only one person alive, and then holding out hope that just maybe it was their family or loved one that survived. For the survivor thinking why me and was it fate, or was it not my time, was it destiny or was it just pure luck?
Or maybe it is as Forest Gump said: “I don’t know if we each have a destiny, or if we’re all just floating around accidental-like on a breeze, but I think maybe it’s both. Maybe both is happening at the same time”.
NOTE: I tried keeping the descriptions short, and that was often difficult. I wanted to include information on the flight, the crash and the survivor. Many sources were used to make this list, so I am fairly confident the general information is correct, but please, if any Listverser knows of any information that is incorrect or want to add some additional facts or information about these air disasters or other sole survivors, please share them. Also it might seem not quite right to put a subject matter like this in a bottom to top list order. Obviously, each incident is just as tragic as the next. The “order” criteria I used was the over all survival story, and the survival chances of each individual.
Date of Crash: January 19, 2006
Aircraft type: Antonov An-24
Operator: Slovak Air Force
Crash Site: Hejce, Hungary
Passengers & Crew: 43
Fatalities : 42
Cause of Crash: Pilot Error
This airplane was carrying Slovak peacekeepers. The aircraft crashed in snowy and forested terrain, on Borsó Hill, at an elevation of 700 meters (2,300 feet), near the Hungarian village of Hejce and the town of Telkibánya. The plane hit the tops of trees, before catching fire and crashing. The bodies and wreckage were scattered over a large area. Michaela Farkasova, the wife of the only survivor, reported that she received a cellular telephone call from her husband, who told her that his plane had crashed in a forest. He asked her to alert rescue services. Shortly after the phone call, Farkas was found. According to rescuers, his survival was pure luck as he was found in the aircraft’s lavatory, which received little damage. Farkaš suffered minor brain swelling and lung injuries after the crash. He was put into a medically induced coma, and was soon reported to be in stable condition. Further investigations indicated that the pilot descended too early in the dark towards the lights of Košice.
Date of Crash: August 27, 2006
Aircraft type: Bombardier Canadair Regional Jet (CRJ) CRJ-100ER
Operator : Comair (d/b/a Delta Connection
Crash Site: Blue Grass Airport, Lexington, Kentucky
Passengers & Crew Onboard: 50
Cause of Crash: Pilot Error
This aircraft was assigned the airport’s Runway 22 for the takeoff, but used Runway 26 instead. Runway 26 was too short for a safe takeoff, causing the aircraft to overrun at the end of the runway before it could become airborne, killing all 47 passengers and two of the three crew. The Flights First officer, James Polehinke, was the only survivor. Polehinke suffered serious injuries, including multiple broken bones, a collapsed lung and severe bleeding. Doctors later determined that Polehinke had suffered brain damage, and has no memory of the crash or the events leading up to it. Polehinke was flying the plane when it crashed, but it was the flight’s captain, Jeffrey Clay, who taxied the aircraft onto the wrong runway.
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