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Thursday, 23 May 2013

51 years ago today

Today marks the 51st anniversary of the tragedy of Continental Airlines Flight 11. 

This will appear dated on the blog as May 23rd as this blog follows New Zealand time.

Saturday, 18 May 2013

A lunch in Los Angeles

After stepping off Qantas QF15 from Brisbane to Los Angeles and waiting an excruciating 1 hr 40 minutes to clear customs I found myself whisked through L.A. to the home of Tim Duley. After a quick spruce up I was on the road again heading for Glendale for a lunch with a most important lady; Kathryn Hamilton. Kathryn's Dad Maurice Hamilton was on Flight 11 on a last-minute business trip. We met at a beautiful cafe just by the business district of Glendale in the California sun. We discussed what Kathryn remembered about the night Flight 11 vanished from the radar. She had a huge scrapbook full of newspaper clippings and articles about Flight 11 from the time of the crash up to the renewed interest in the past few years.

I had met her sister Maureen and her brother Tom last year at the 50th anniversary memorial. It was so good to meet another family member. Despite lack of sleep and a hint of jet lag I was amazed to meet this wonderful and amazing person and for her to reach out to a total stranger who had flown half way across the world for "lunch" in Glendale that day.

Her and Tim (his father Tom closed the door on Flight 11 that ill-fated evening) and I chatted for what seemed hours. It really was such a pleasant thing.

It was especially interesting to Kathryn to learn that Tim's father had been the last person to see anyone from Flight 11 alive. Of course around 50 minutes later the catastrophic results of a deluded man would spoil what had been a routine flight.

Even more interesting to Kathryn was learning about Sandy Glau, former Continental hostess who had spoken to the flight crew earlier that evening as they went to board the accident aircraft.

Below is a picture of Tim, Kathryn and myself in Glendale, CA. Once again it's such a rewarding thing for me to continue to connect the families of those connected with Flight 11.

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Shibleys Point, Missouri and Flagler, Colorado

The Allis family (of second officer Dean Allen's family) reminded me of something I had meant to add to the blog in 2012 when I first met them at the 50th anniversary. It pertains to the rather unusual circumstance of Unionville being just over 20 miles from Shibleys Point. It is at Shibleys Point that members of the Allen family are buried. They were there at the time of Flight 11s demise and it is was a sort of comforting thing in 1962 to have Dean pass away near already deceased relatives.

I had the great honour to meet Dean Allen's sister who is 90 and currently resides in Flagler, Colorado. Mark Allis drove me from Hugo, Colorado to Flagler and back in the middle of deteriorating weather so we couldn't stay long due to falling snow and blizzard conditions.

Flagler incidentally was in the news headlines in 1951 when an airshow crash killed a number of spectators.