Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Back From The Crash Site

It’s been 2 hours since we left the crash site and our entire family is emotionally drained. My whole family and I spent an hour at the site with the other victims’ families.

The site looked surreal – like a movie set. There’s all this beautiful land around it and right through the middle of the area the ground is scorched. If you’ve viewed any recent pictures l you have seen everything that’s left. There’s nothing else. The only pieces of plane we saw were a wing, one piece of landing gear, part of the cockpit and the engines. That is all that’s left.

I spent most of my time looking at the cockpit where Kelly would have been. If you look at a picture you’ll see a “U” shaped hole between the last cockpit window and the door on the plane (that is the service door). If you drew a line from the “U” straight across the plane to the other side it would go right through the spot that Kelly was sitting.

We couldn’t walk directly up to the plane. Everything was taped off because the area is still under investigation. We could walk partway up the hill and see the trees that the plane initially clipped. Fire broke out immediately as is evident by the scorched earth. Maybe a hundred yards past that is the site of the impact and you can see how the plane just continued to slide up another hill to it’s final resting place – maybe 200 yards past the impact site.

There were NTSB investigators out there to answer any questions we had. Also in attendance were members of the American Red Cross and Chaplains to speak with anyone that wanted counseling.

There had to have been almost 100 police/sheriff/state patrol cars parked near the site. We were escorted by about a dozen squad cars along with 8 motorcycle patrolmen. Everybody – the motorcycle patrolmen, horse patrol, NTSB, Red Cross and others – were standing at attention as we drove up to the site in 5 buses. And while we were out of the buses at the site a police helicopter flew around the perimeter to keep the media from flying any closer.

The hardest part for me was when we had to board the buses to go back to the hotel. I didn’t want to leave. I know Kelly wasn’t there but I felt so close to him. And, like I said, I wanted to see a sign that he was there.

As we left there were about 20 people pulled over on the side of the road holding up big white signs that said things like “WE LOVE YOU” and “WE”RE PRAYING FOR YOU.” Total strangers, but to us they felt like close friends. It was tough to see.

Thank you for your prayers. We all know it made us stronger today.



At 10:15 AM, August 31, 2006, Blogger Chinabelle said...

I lost a friend in the crash. I too, have been saddened by the lack of media coverage on this tragedy. My hometown of Danville is a long way from my current residence in Clearwater, Florida, but I am grieving with them just the same.

Bart Frederick was my next door neighbor for three years. I babysat their three children countless times during those years. He will be missed, not only by his family and friends, but by the community at large.

My condolences go out to you. My father passed away from cancer almost three years ago - granted, it was not as sudden as your loss, but nonetheless, I understand and sympathize.

You are covered in prayers from a grieving nation.

At 10:41 AM, August 31, 2006, Blogger hummer said...

I have been praying countless times per day for you, your family, and all of the families who lost loved ones in this horrible accident. I did not know anyone personally on the plane but I have been grieving for them all.
I live in Lexington, KY. and we all are grieving. I will be keeping all of you in my prayers daily. I am so very sorry for your loss.

At 11:11 AM, August 31, 2006, Blogger ash (Ayaka) said...

I appreciate you that you have been keeping this blog.
My childhood friend, passed by this accident. I have reached so many sites, that was telling "news" but no site telling intangible feeling from the family standpoint.

May your brother Kelly rest in peace. May Nahoko and Tetsuya rest in peace. And may all the victims of this "far-fetched" accident.

Ash (Tokyo)

At 11:59 AM, August 31, 2006, Blogger jackiemchale said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 12:03 PM, August 31, 2006, Blogger jackiemchale said...

I live in Louisville, KY and work in Lexington. I drive by the crash site every day and get teary every time. Please know that there are so many people who are praying for you and your family. I am sure Kelly was a wonderful man.

The news coverage has been pretty thorough around here and is full of information.

God bless your family during this time of grief.

I found this on, where all of the condolences are being written. I know there are around 20,000 entries, but saw this one and thought it was nice.

To my dearest family, some things I'd like to say...
but first of all, to let you know, that I arrived okay.
I'm writing this from heaven. Here I dwell with God above.
Here, there's no more tears of sadness; here is just eternal love.

Please do not be unhappy just because I'm out of sight.
Remember that I'm with you every morning, noon and night.
That day I had to leave you when my life on earth was through,
God picked me up and hugged me and He said, "I welcome you."

It's good to have you back again; you were missed while you were gone.
As for your dearest family, they'll be here later on.
I need you here badly; you're part of my plan.
There's so much that we have to do, to help our mortal man."

God gave me a list of things, that he wished for me to do.
And foremost on the list, was to watch and care for you.
And when you lie in bed at night, the day's chores put to flight.
God and I are closest to the middle of the night.

When you think of my life on earth, and all those loving years
because you are only human, they are bound to bring you tears.
But do not be afraid to cry; it does relieve the pain.
Remember there would be no flowers, unless there was some rain.

I wish that I could tell you all that God has planned.
But if I were to tell you, you wouldn't understand.
But one thing is for certain, though my life on earth is o'er.
I'm closer to you now, than I ever was before.

There are many rocky roads ahead of you and many hills to climb;
but together we can do it by taking one day at a time.
It was always my philosophy and I'd like it for you too...
that as you give unto the world, the world will give to you.

If you can help somebody who's in sorrow and pain,
then you can say to God at night......"My day was not in vain."
And now I am contented....that my life has been worthwhile,
knowing as I passed along the way, I made somebody smile.

So if you meet somebody who is sad and feeling low,
just lend a hand to pick him up, as on your way you go.
When you're walking down the street, and you've got me on your mind;
I'm walking in your footsteps only half a step behind.

And when it's time for you to go.... from that body to be free,
remember you're not're coming here to me.

Ruth Ann Mahaffey (author)
©Copyright 1998-2006

At 12:51 PM, August 31, 2006, Blogger Glen Blind said...

I am a former Comair Flight Attendant that actually works now at the crew hotel that Comair stays at. I had the great pleasure of spending sometime with your great brother and fellow co worker on Saturday while I was on duty at the hotel and after my shift. We shared some great conversation and talked about why I was leaving Comair. Kelly was a great guy and I always enjoyed working with him. He always had a smile on. In his memory, I have placed my wings on the memorial banner at Bluegrass Field. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family

At 12:59 PM, August 31, 2006, Blogger Marianne said...

I live in Lexington and knew some of the folks that perished with your brother. I know that you and your family must be struggling to come to terms with this horrific accident, but please know that everyone in this community grieves with you and feels your loss.

This blog is a wonderful and loving tribute to your brother. Thank you for sharing it with us.

At 2:37 PM, August 31, 2006, Blogger Amy said...

There simply aren't words to express how heartbroken I am for your brother's loss and the loss of the rest of the people on flight 5191. I live in Louisville but grew up only minutes from Bluegrass Airport. To see such a horrific tragedy happen in your hometown is just unspeakable. I've read the profile of your brother and he sounded like a wonderful person. It is so tragic that these lives were taken so suddenly.

I'm so very sorry for the grief and loss your family is going through. Please know that the entire state of Kentucky is grieving with you and keeping you in our prayers.

At 4:18 PM, August 31, 2006, Blogger RJ said...

I am also from Lexington and just found out about your blog today. Although I did not personally know anyone on this flight, one of my co-workers lost had neice on the plane. Personally I could not imagine losing my brother so unexpectantly.

My thoughts and prayers go out to you, your family and all the families and friends of the people on this plane.

At 4:53 PM, August 31, 2006, Blogger Qtknee said...

prayers and thoughts from Louisiana...i'm sorry for your loss and wish you and your family the strength to see you through

At 6:38 PM, August 31, 2006, Blogger SuzziQzi said...

Last week was terrible for me personally and when we turned the news on las we do every morning with coffee, the whole world was put back in focus. It made no difference how bad the week was all my children,my grandson, my brothers, mom & dad were still here. I could pick up the phone and talk to them tell them I love them and will see you next weekend. I am so thankful for that.

My daughter lives in Lexington so the first thing I did was call her and say who do you know that's flying out this morning. Have you heard from them and have you called your friends. Again I am thankful that everyone was accounted for,

I am so sorry for your loss. I know there will be questions that you will never have answered. I have had sudden loss and I know some of the things that are going through your mind. Know that we are thinking of you and praying for you. Also know that you will be united with Kelly in God's Kingdom.

At 7:32 PM, August 31, 2006, Blogger crosscut said...

I found out about your blog through Someone there posted a link to here.

I am from Louisville, KY, now living in Florida. From talking to people I know in Kentucky, the entire state as well as the country, feels your grief. Even though I did not know anyone on the plane, I too, share in the grief. Our deepest condolences. Our prayers are with you, your family, and all the other families. Such a tragedy.

The poem below is from After reading your blog about Kelly, this seemed fitting for him.

The Legacy

When I die, give what is left of me to children.
If you need to cry
Cry for your brothers walking beside you.

If the sun should rise
And find your eyes
all filled with tears for me;
Put your arms around anyone
And give them what you need to give to me.

I want to leave you with something...
Something better than words or sounds.
Look for me in the people.

And if you cannot live without me,
Then let me live on in your eyes,
your mind and your acts of kindness.

You can love me most
by letting hands touch hands
and letting go of children
that need to be free.

Love does not die - people do...
So when all that is left of me is love...
Give me away...

-Author Unknown

At 9:42 PM, August 31, 2006, Blogger mleruth said...

I live in Lexington, fly out of the bluegrass all the time. I spent the weekend out of town, and had just started the drive back Sunday afternoon when my mom called. She told me there had been a plane crash at the airport (about 10 minutes from my house). Since I was still hours away reality hadn't really hit me yet. As I got about 25 miles away from Lexington I began seeing coroner vans escorted by police cars to all sides. From what I found out, they were headed to Frankfort to the medical examiner's lab. There were so many, I lost count. I really began crying. Not being sure if I knew anyone, I was hurting for the families of those who had. Police cars were all over the place. As I exited the parkway onto Versailles Road, I was about 3 miles away from the airport (which you have to pass to enter Lexington from the direction I was headed) when I came to a complete stop. I heard sirens coming towards me, and yet another line of coroner vans. We were able to drive a few feet before we stopped again. This time the vans were coming from behind us. I assume they were empty, coming to the site to recover more victims. I was in full tears, completely undone, as were all those driving around me. We all were crying, and just in disbelief that this had happened. Several had their windows down, you could hear wailing and lots of people crying. We knew every time we stopped to expect vans to come towards us. As we got closer to the airport traffic merged into one lane, with the right lane closed. It wasn't too long before I was close to the crash site. There were cops guarding the road that lead to the site. There's a line of trees along Versailles road, but there are gaps between the trees where I could see the recovery effort going on. Then, we stopped again, and another few vans were allowed to exit. Each set of vans had their own police escort to the side, front, and back. As I got closer to the airport, I saw reporters at Keeneland (the race track across from the airport). Helicopters were overhead taking pictures and footage. I turned onto Man of War to go home, and had to pass the airport. There were policemen in front, I suppose to make sure that no one who isn't flying out, or an aiport official, doesn't get in. There were a few flowers placed along the fence next to the road. Each time a van would pass I would think of the family that had their life so radically changed today. I fly out of the Bluegrass airport and drive past it to get to work, I've never really thought a lot about the airport, but now I don't think I'll be able to drive past it the same way again. My heart is broken for your family, and the others who lost family on Sunday.


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