Alaska Editorial: Remembering plane crash victims and their families

Posted: Sunday, August 26, 2007

We're glad the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration are taking an especially close look at the causes of two flightseeing crashes that shocked our community.

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With a safety record we all were proud of, we hadn't had such a fatality in close to a decade until July 24; to have 10 people die in crashes a little more than three weeks apart was numbing.

Now the NTSB has the task to figure out what happened and, if possible, whether anything can be done to help avoid such accidents in the future. We appreciate the agency's openness in describing its process and telling us what it is doing.

Our job, for now, is to leave the judgment to the experts and in the meantime, to do what we can. What we can do seems meager but it matters. We can offer condolences to and prayers for the families of those who died July 24 - Joseph H. Campbell of Ketchikan, William F. and Jeanne Eddy of Jacksonville, Fla., and Marianne McManus and Paul J. McManus of Leicester, Mass. - and now, for those who died last week: Daniel J. Herron of Irvine, Calif.; 3-year-old Trevor Smith and his parents, Eric and Christine Smith, all of Tualatin, Ore.; and David R. Mayer of Oregon City, Ore.

We can offer support to the families of those who survived Thursday's crash - our own Steve Kamm, the pilot, and tour guide Sara Steffen; Trevor's twin, 3-year-old Allison Smith; and Allison's grandmother, Mindy Mayer, of Oregon City. They all have a tough road ahead, but with the prayers and help of their friends, family and neighbors, they can make it to a brighter future. That anyone survived the crash is a miracle.

That there was any crash is a tragedy; but we can't change that. Let's concentrate on the miracle and be thankful for the lives that were spared. It's all we can do right now.

For those of us who aren't immediately connected to the accident, well, there's another thing we can do. We can hug our own family members. We're extraordinarily fortunate to have them.

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