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Rated: 13+ · Short Story · Travel · #2272508
Inspired by "Ironic" by Alanis Morrisette and the Miracle on the Hudson
         Kevin McArthur, an older businessman in New York, passed through the tunnel to board his first flight. The attendants smiled at him as he stepped onto the plane, but he couldn't smile back. He took his seat by a window, and soon a young man sat next to him.

         Kevin's pulse raced, and his hands went clammy. Noticing his distress, the young man said, "Are you okay?"

         Kevin looked at the man and saw a concerned expression on his face. Should I tell him the truth, or just say the usual, "I'm fine?" He seems sympathetic, I guess I'll tell him.

         "No, I've always been terrified of flying. But I have to fly to California because my mom doesn't have much time left and I need to see her before she goes."

         "Sorry to hear," said the young man. "If it makes you feel any better, flying is safe, safer than driving. Every day there's thousands of planes in the air and most years not one goes down."

         "I always avoided flying because it frightened me, but right now I don't have a choice." Kevin sighed.

         "What is your name?" asked the young man.

         "Kevin, what is yours?"

         "David. Nice to meet you."

         "You too," said Kevin.

         One of the stewardesses stood in the aisle and began the safety demonstration. Kevin leaned in close to David and said, "This is freaking me out even more!"

         "It will be fine," said David.


         Captain Charles Bentley Sutherland and his co-pilot, Steve Otto, prepared to take off. Sutherland radioed Air Traffic Control with the words, "Cactus 1984 Boeing 737 requesting permission for takeoff".

         "Taxi to six four, line up and wait," they replied.

         The Captain taxied the plane to runway 64. Several planes sat ahead of him. Gradually, each of them took off. Air Traffic Control came on the radio and said, "Cactus 1984 cleared for takeoff."
Sutherland pulled the yoke, and the plane accelerated before losing contact with the ground.


         After the plane reached its cruising altitude, David said, "See? That wasn't so bad."

         Kevin looked out the window at the earth, thousands of feet below. "I can't do this!"

         "Yes, you can. We are fine. There's nothing to worry about." David leaned back in his seat as Kevin chewed his fingernails.


         After a couple hundred miles, a flock of birds flew in front of the plane. "Crap!" said Otto.

         "We don't have time to do anything about it," said the Captain. He heard the engines stop.

         "A bird must have got stuck in the propellers! What are we going to do?!" said Otto as the plane began to descend.
The Captain looked at the ground and saw that they were near a river. "We will have to ditch in the river," he said calmly.


The seat belt lights came on in the cabin as the plane lost altitude. "We're going to die!" cried Kevin. He curled up into a ball, closed his eyes and prayed, "Lord, welcome me into your kingdom." Passengers all over the plane sent texts to their loved ones, not expecting to survive.


         The Captain, drawing on years of experience, expertly maneuvered the plane into the river. After it plunged into the water, it began to float near the surface. He radioed Air Traffic Control, "Cactus 1984 suffered engine failure, ditched in a river." He told the flight crew, "Evacuate all passengers onto the wings. I will request boats in the vicinity to take them to shore."


         Kevin opened his eyes as the plane floated in the river. "We're alive! It's a miracle!"

         A stewardess directed everyone out of the emergency exits and onto the wings. Soon, boats arrived and transported everyone to shore. Captain Sutherland walked the length of the plane, making sure no one remained. Despite the crash, there were no casualties.

         In the following weeks, Sutherland became a national hero for saving the lives of his passengers and crew. He received a slew of medals and honors for his heroism. Kevin and David kept in touch and developed a friendship. Kevin caught a connecting flight to California and managed to be with his mother in her final hours. David's assurance that all would be fine turned out to be correct.
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