A very sad and tragic accident took the life of a 6 year old child on Saturday, when a seaplane flipped and submerged in rather cold water. Because good people do not engage in thumb sucking speculation, especially if they are pilots, it’s hard to say anything, other than “Our Condolences” and that we are sorry. Seaplanes, and especially amphibian seaplanes with a retractable gear keep flipping and sometimes it is hard to believe that those two floats with the gear sticking out, actually have a proud and rather large, mostly intact airplane attached to them, beneath the waters surface. Those of us who love seaplanes and fly them, often feel sad about the fact that we lose fellow pilots in these accidents and when a child is involved things get a lot more sour.
Compared to other branches of aviation, seaplanes have few accidents and the loss of life is not as common as it is with other airplanes. This partly stems from the fact that seaplane pilots are generally quite familiar with their airplanes and commonly have quite a bit of experience as pilots. However, when things do go sideways (especially with amphibians) things generally look bleak because everything happens so terribly fast. The pilot has no chance to rectify the situation, punishment is sudden, and unforgiving and very final.
My goal with this article is not to reflect on this particular catastrophic event. I am sad and upset about the accident, just as anybody else. I wish it never happened. What I’d really like to do is shine a little light on some of the comments, given by people who have no idea about seaplanes and the things that kill people in our world of water flying. These comments are harsh and shocking and they can invoke a lot of doubt about the intellectual capability of your fellow (wo)man, but also their style, class, courtesy and decency. As an upright walking individual, I cannot help but be embarrassed (ashamed) by those statements, not because they have even a slight hint of truth in them, but because they show how ugly and judgmental your fellow citizen can be. They are embarrassments to our society, to our style, to what we stand for as Americans, a people who claim to be above the crowd… one notch higher, more righteous, more upright, more straight forward, better educated, better mannered, more humane. In fact, some of their owners are worse than animals with apparent dysfunctional brains. It will be our job to educate them, make them more human, thoughtful and it will be our responsibility to teach them basic things, such as taste and style, as they clearly possess none. I ask you to do what you can to shut them up, when you see them out, trolling the internet to spread their false accusations, insults and utterly stupid rubbish around, on someone else’s expense.
The most offensive one seems to be dorimonsonfan who’s unsubstantiated guesswork seems entirely out of touch:
“What kind of father exits a sinking plane while his child is still inside?”
“Some activities that are much, much more dangerous in groups: motorcycle riding, bicycling, flying. If the father hadn’t been busy worrying about the other planes he was flying with, he probably would have remembered to pull the wheels into the pontoons and not critically injured his son. Just like the dbag that crashed his bike on novelty hill rd doing 40mph, he was too busy worrying about the cyclist he was drafting off of and not concentrating on the road, and the steel plate that he could have easily avoided.”
“The wheels of the airplane are cleary down, as can be seen in the picture. The pilot was hot-dogging with his buddies, and was paying no attention to what he should have been paying attention to, like his landing gear. Not puting his child’s safety as his first priority was in really poor taste.”
“I can see how this could happen. I’d guess the pilot normally flies a retractable cessna, perhaps a182 rg. He probably put the wheels down out of habit as part of his normal landing approach routine. I would imagine his buddies he was flying with would have let him know his gear was down otherwise. Rip to the kid. What a horrible way to go. I hope the father can find peace with himself eventually.”
“My guess is that the gear was up during the flight, but probably dropped by the pilot just before landing. The pilot was likely in the habit of flying a retractable, and put the landing gear down just prior to landing, as he was used to doing, so his flying buddies didn’t see the gear down.”
“unfortunately many people are uninformed about aviation and don’t understand my comments regarding the circumstances surrounding this accident, so they just give me a knee jerk thumbs down. since I don’t want to have a negative pscore due to people’s misinformation, I am unfortunately forced to delete some of my negatively voted remarks.”
I can already hear the voices, of how my idea will be deemed impractical – impossible to attain. I know, you cannot educate a heartless brick in the wall. I am still ashamed and ask you to read those comments with an open heart, and an open mind, towards a family which just lost their 6 year old child, in a terrible thing commonly referred to as “ACCIDENT”. My condolences to pilot & family and all the other lives touched and changed forever. May the pilot find faith and a network of friends who will be there for him on the bumpy road ahead. I wish there was more enlightening things to write about, on this birthday, which turned rather dark, by waking up to these news.