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Hero United Airlines Pilot Al Haynes Dead at 87

Hero United Airlines Pilot Al Haynes Dead at 87
Jennifer Billock

In 1989, a United Airlines flight suffered a complete hydraulic failure and crashed in Sioux City, Iowa; out of the 296 people on board, 184 survived — thanks to the heroic work of Captain Al Haynes, who was piloting the flight at the time and managed to save the lives of more than half the passengers.

Retired United Airlines pilot Captain Al Haynes has died in a hospital in Seattle. He was 87. Haynes was best known for piloting a United flight that crashed in Sioux City, Iowa, in 1989. Because of his competency, he was able to save 184 passengers and crewmembers.

The flight, United Flight 232, suffered complete hydraulic failure in the air. Haynes managed to keep the plane flying for another 45 minutes until it crash-landed in Iowa. An NPR report at the time described one passenger’s experience in the crash: “He watched in amazement as, quote, ‘a woman still strapped in her seat flew past me on the other side.’ A ball of fire roared down the aisle above him. Then the vessel arched into the air, breaking up further as it angled over, pirouetted and slammed down onto its back.”

But even though he managed to save those lives, Haynes did not want to be known as the hero.

“Al did not like the name ‘hero’ associated with Al Haynes. He never saw himself as a hero,” said Gary Brown, the emergency services director in Woodbury County, Iowa, reported by CNN. “Anytime he talked about what went on that day, he talked about his entire crew. He talked about the flight attendants. He talked about the passengers doing what they needed to do, and the emergency responders, and the whole community coming together.”

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1 Comment

  1. DEN

    August 27, 2019 at 2:43 pm

    The sign of a true hero…..it wasn’t about what he did.

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