Plane Crash, Sirens in the Air

I wrote this piece when i was 16 for my IGCSEs.  I can’t believe my grandad kept this in his Hannah file. It is quite a powerful piece.  I wrote it for friends of mine who died in a plane crash.  I wrote it from the perspective of being part of their family. 

Tension is waiting in the thin rasping air. I’m waiting, shaking with numbness. Shock. Standing still. Not knowing what to do or say. No words come out as if my tongue has been tied into a knot. All of a sudden I flee from my parent’s bedroom into the moonlit cold December sky. It was a week before Christmas. All the festive moods drained out like water out of a bathtub. Water falls down-where is it coming from – I look up but the still heaven is clear and then I notice my round face is wet. I’ve been weeping again – but I don’t know why. Or maybe I do but have pushed it away. Suddenly a gasping noise comes and freezes into the darkness of the night. I have realised what has happened. Unbearable, uncontrollable long bubbles float down my now ghostly face and I collapse to the floor.

It was a week and a day ago when the pilot and his daughter and the girls set out to go on a quick trip to the Bahamas. Katie’s younger sisters and mum had stayed home.

The information swims in my water-logged brain, I see my friend – sister crashing into the Atlantic – gasping for as she fights the cold salty liquid crawling over her skin-seven foot waves. She can’t move, swept away with the ocean current. She has faded away like ghosts. Where have you gone Katie? Where have you gone Patrick?

A knock on the door. The police. A plane crashed in the Atlantic on its way. Shock to us. Grief. Our faces were on fire. We went to the nearby coast. The coast close to the place of my sister and dad. Waiting and waiting. Suspension was in the air. Time was a critical factor. We hoped. Desperately. Hoping and praying. Time was ticking by…

Hours later I wake up in my bed with cushions, teddy bears and my dog, surrounding me like a protective cover as I slip in and out of sleep. I scream: “I can’t go on, why did it have to happen?”, I sob violently not like earlier quiet shapeless tears. And then I close my eyes again.

‘A plane crash of the Northern Florida coast Sunday left one teenage girl and a father and his daughter missing. Monday morning, authorities said. By 6 am Monday nearly 24 hours had elapsed since Pilot Patrick Tilltoad’s Cessna headed to the Bahamas went down about a mile off the coast of Vilano beach according to local authorities. Forty-six year old Tilltoad of Augusta GA radioed in a distressed call about mechanical problems shortly before the plane carrying three others, crashed. “The aircraft called the St. Augustine Airport, advised that they were having mechanical difficulties with the aircraft and were unable to hold altitude.”, said U.S coast Guard Petty OFCR. Donnie Brzika. “ A short time later the aircraft was lost.”, he said.

Two people pooped out of the rear end of the plane. No…….. Patrick? Katie? Rachel was the lucky one. The rescue team hosted her out of the frigid Atlantic and took her to a waiting ambulance. Rachel recalls “ We were putting on our flotation devices when the plane landed on the water with a soft thud. I don’t know about Katie or Patrick.” Rachel was a better swimmer. She survived. Where have you gone Katie? Where have you gone Patrick?

As I submerge from my covers, a sour odour overwhelms me and then I notice Katie picking up things. Is that really her? Suddenly Katie speaks “Get out of bed, we’re on to sports in 15 minutes” and I yell “Don’t go, don’t leave me here in this world alone to survive.” She elapses from sight. A dreamy slumber overtakes me and my eyes fall shut, heavy doors shutting against the windy breeze. Was it really you Katie, or was it your ghost. She’s gone, gone away.

Sirens are in the air as fish scatter away from the scene, headlights sweep the surface for the plane. Lingering. Tigers waiting to catch their prey.

Freya and her two youngest daughters remain alive today and are waiting a motel along Vilano beach. No peace of mind. Restless. Waiting. Hoping.

Two sharp knocks on the door-the reporters the noisy cows ready to imply and know. Scribbling away as if there world hangs on to that piece of paper – words with no meaning as thousands of people will read the loss eagerly but will not feel the terrible grief – that one had to endure. Time will heal the loss. Soon things will be better.

Here I am thinning away with the wind, water rolling down, lanky hair falling into bits like broken leaves.

…“Katie was unique, full of love, emotional who cared about everyone. She was funny and was the most honest girl I’ve known.” People listen as I speak in the chapel – where the memorial takes place. “Patrick was a father to me – he brought so much sunshine and spiritual feelings into life.”

Finally a rap at the door rouses me. I shuffle – pull my trousers as they fall down. I yell: “I’ll be there in a minute.” The police. “We found them” A cry of relief,  comes from me. Tears fall freely. Peace of mind at last. Now we can mourn peacefully. The process of healing can start.

The pilot and his daughter – my sister will rest in peace. Patrick would have said “I’ll see you on the other side of the sun”.


Why is pain the only way to happen and no other way to experience life….one day I will understand, we all will.

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