on Doomed Alaska Airlines Plane Make Peace with God Before Crash-Fiction!
Summary of eRumor
The email being circulated says that a pastor's wife
on a doomed Alaska Airlines plane addressed the passengers for 9 minutes and led them in prayer before the plane
crashed. This allegedly came from an Alaska pilot
who heard the cockpit voice recordings. The original version of the eRumor
said the pastor's wife was from Idaho. More recent versions say it was a
pastor's wife from Washington. Further, the email states that the
pilot says there was no explanation for why the plane was able to stay aloft for
those final 9 minutes.
is no evidence this happened. The National Transportation Safety
Board has now released the cockpit voice recordings from the flight and
there is nothing like this story on them.
flight 261 crashed off the coast of California on January 31, 2000.
The McDonnell Douglas MD-80 jetliner carried 88 people. There were
Among the passengers were Joe and Linda Knight from
Monroe, Washington. They were co-pastors of The Rock Church in
Monroe. Their adult son, who is also a minister, is quoted in news
reports as saying Linda was the kind of person who would probably preach
to the passengers during an emergency. It is possible that's where
the story originated.
When the eRumor first started, there were
several things about it that didn't seem valid.
First, the claim that the
information came from an Alaska pilot who heard the cockpit voice
recordings was not credible. The tapes were in the hands of
the National Transportation Safety Board who keeps things like that very
secure. It would be illegal for anyone to release that kind of
information before the NTSB does.
Second, we talked with several
pilots who fly the MD-80 and they all agreed that the cockpit voice
recorder does not record what is said in the passenger cabin over the P.A.
system. It records the cockpit crew and radio conversations.
Third, it is not credible
that any passenger would have been able to spend 9 minutes talking over
the P.A. system to fellow passengers. According to published news
reports, the first time the plane reported trouble to air traffic
controllers was at 4:10pm. The last transmission from the plane was
at 4:17pm and it disappeared from radar at 4:21pm. That meant there
were about 11 minutes from the beginning of the emergency to the
crash. For Linda Knight to have addressed the passengers for 9
minutes, she would have been given the microphone within 2 minutes of when
the crew first reported a problem. If anything would have been
communicated to the passengers during that time, it would have been from
the crew and if they felt a crash was imminent, they would have been
talking about emergency procedures, not letting a passenger address the
Finally, there is good explanation how the plane
stayed in the air. The pilots were able to struggle to stabilize the
plane and had reported to controllers that they thought they could make it
to Los Angeles International Airport. It is believed that there was
catastrophic failure that led to the plane's final plunge into the
ocean. So this story felt, acted, and tasted like a rumor from
the beginning. Last updated 9/21/00
A real example of the story as it has
I received mail today from a friend in Oregon who can verify this as a true story. Their Pastor had it verified by two separate sources and she personally knows some friends of the late pastor and his wife who told her it was absolutely true! The greatest part of this story besides the lives who were committed to the Lord is that this pastor and his wife were very simple, plain, and unassuming people who God used at a time of crisis to share his love. God uses even the most unremarkable people like you and me to do His will.
An Alaska Airlines pilot who is involved in the investigation of the horrific crash of Alaska Flight 261 has listened to the cockpit voice recorder from the downed plane and he reported that for the last nine minutes of the flight, the wife of the pastor from Monroe, Washington can be heard sharing the Gospel with the passengers over the planeís intercom system. Just before the final dive into the Pacific Ocean, she can be heard leading the sinners prayer for salvation.
The pilot also told that the flight data recorder from the plane indicates that there is no good explanation for how the plane was able to stay in the air for those final nine minutes. But it did stay in the air until the pastorís wife had a chance to share the Gospel with the very attentive passengers and presumably lead many to salvation in Christ.
So, in the midst of this tragedy, nearly 90 people had an extraordinary opportunity to get right with their Maker just prior to meeting Him.
Isnít that a miracle? - No wonder the press didnít release what was on the black box recording!