WAKE UP, IT'S A CRASH! by Earl Moorhouse


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A survivor's eyewitness account of the first 747 jumbo jet crash, which happened in Nairobi on November 20, 1974. Moorhouse, accompanied by his wife and two small sons, was on his way to take up new duties as a liaison officer for the Friends of the Earth when their 747 stalled on liftoff, impacted, lost its tail section, and skidded, disintegrating, through a field. Moorhouse has rounded up the first-hand impressions of this event of about 30 survivors and folded them into a long, vivid tableau of preflight feelings, shock at the plane's unaccountable shudders on takeoff, and what-happened-after. Moorhouse and his family saved themselves by using the escape chute, but the horror was not over, since the plane seemed about to explode. The lucky ones running away were met by Kenyans running toward the disaster--some bent on helping the survivors, some ready to loot the dead on the edge of hell. (A naval captain came to just as looters stripped off his tie and removed all his possessions.) Back at the terminal the survivors entered shock; one walked about in circles for over an hour. What happened? Apparently the leading-edge flaps were retracted when, at Nairobi's altitude, they should have been extended. Not a warning book, just the story of a trauma whose waves still move through the Moorhouses.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1980
Publisher: Paddington--dist. by Grosset & Dunlap