Extraordinary story of Newfoundland town welcoming stranded airline passengers after being grounded on 9/11

"It was absolutely incredible."
December 26, 2017 11:59 am Last Updated: December 26, 2017 11:59 am

Everyone old enough to remember knows exactly where they were on September 11, 2001. A tragedy that has left a lasting effect on the world even today, 9/11 was an event that changed the way people think and act towards each other.

A flight attendant on Delta Flight 15 going from Frankfurt, Germany, to Atlanta, Georgia, tells the story of everything that happened that tragic day.

(Getty Images / Brian E. Kushner)

The flight attendant starts out with talking about how they were 5 hours out of Frankfurt, and over the Atlantic Ocean when the flight crew got word to land the plane as soon as possible.

They were not told why they had to land, except for a few details about terrorist activity near New York and hijacked planes.

“We decided to LIE to the passengers while we were still in the air,” the attendant said. “We told them the plane had a simple instrument problem and that we needed to land at the nearest airport in Gander, Newfoundland, to have it checked out.”

Flight 15 was one of 53 planes that landed that day in Gander. The flight had landed at 11:00 AM EST, but the passengers of the flight were told to stay put on the plane until the next morning, until everything was sorted out. So they all slept on the plane.

The next morning, the passengers were taken to register for the Red Cross and at this point, the crew had been separated from the passengers. The crew including the flight attendant went to their hotel, and news reports on TV had shown them just how tragic the events of the previous day were, so they weren’t expecting to leave anytime soon.

(YouTube / Screenshot)

The population of Gander was around 10,000 at the time, and the number of stranded passengers almost matched that number.

The flight attendant raved about how the people of Gander treated them, saying that they were referred to as the “plane people,” and that they couldn’t have been nicer. And this was only proven further when the passengers of Flight 15 were called back to the plane to go home on September 14.

The passengers were sent to a nearby town called Lewisporte, and stayed in the local high school. Families weren’t separated, the elderly were taken to private homes, and a passenger 33 weeks into her pregnancy was put in a home right next to a emergency care facility. Nurses and dentists were on-call, and excursions were offered along with food being consistently ready for them. The people of Lewisporte made sure the passengers were right at home.

The plane ride back was described as a “chartered party flight,” as all the passengers had gotten to know each other over the past few days.

During the ride, one of the passengers asked to speak on the plane mic. Given the circumstances of the last few days, the flight attendant obliged. The man made a speech about the events of the previous few days, and how because of the hospitality of the strangers of Lewisporte, he wants to give back to them.

The man wanted to set up a trust fund to provide college scholarships to those in Lewisporte, and name the fund after Delta Flight 15.

$15,000 were committed to the fund by the time the plane had landed in Atlanta. And as of today, more than $2 million has been donated. In the middle of the most tragic day in American history, a good deed came out of it. This shows the strength of the human race, and how there can always be even a little good in the most trying times.

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(Via Cities of Promise)


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