Friday, July 27, 2007

Horrid Afternoon

Hi Cindy,

I don't know if you saw the news out of Phoenix tonight but we had two news helicopters crash here in town. As bad as that sounds it is even worse. They crashed in the park just across the street from where DH works and he looked down on the devastation from an office just across the hall from his cube.

I should explain a little further. DH and I work in high rises less than a quarter mile apart so we have lunch together most days. Today we went to Macayo's with my friend L and the new guy in her section A. A just started Monday, he grew up in Baraboo and got his degree at UW-SP. L and A both work in the groundwater modeling section. We got back to the office at 12:30 and I finished up the previous entry.

I had just posted it when DH called saying they'd just heard gun shots in the parking lot by Macayo's and that I should go take a look out the north window. While I was talking to him I could see a medical helicopter circling outside my south facing window (not uncommon because there's a hospital less than a half a mile south). I also heard a loud boom but didn't think much of that since Central Ave in front of us is in the midst of light rail construction. I called L to quickly tell her the news and then went to look out the north window. When I got there I saw black smoke billowing up from behind DH's building but it didn't look like it was coming from there. I started to walk back to my desk when he called on the cell phone saying that a helicopter had crashed and that he was watching it burn. It was especially hard for his office since they deal with emergency situations and wanted to help but obviously couldn't. I went off to find out more info.

Within about 5 minutes we found out it was 2 helicopters for local news channels that had collided in mid air and crashed into Steele Indian School Park. We spent hours today listening to the news and being glad it didn't hit one of the office buildings, apartment complexes or the VA Hospital right there. DH thinks that a fragment may have landed in the courtyard on the north side of their building. Several people he knows actually witnessed the collision and saw the explosion and crash. There were counselors available to them before he left. I could hear the shock in his voice as he was describing the scene and the flames.

From the picture you can see how close we were. The high-rise in the background is my building and the parking ramp at the right is the one at DH's building. It was a snarled mess getting out of the area, even 3 hours later. They had several streets closed even though the main part was in the park.

Oh, and the reason they collided and crashed... Some fool stole a truck and was being followed by the police. They'd blown out his tires and he'd hit a couple of cop cars. Then he car-jacked another work truck just south of DH's building. We're not sure if the sounds of gun fire that DH and his co-workers heard were something with that carjacking or the actual collision. I think it was the carjacking and that the boom that I heard while on the phone was the collision. The car-jacker fled the area and ended up barricaded in a house about 6-8 miles away. Not even his own house, he just burst in on people. He didn't even know that there had been a collision behind him.

The two stations that lost their reporters have had news coverage the entire time. A third station that was also filming the chase got some footage of the copters falling but not the actual collision. The one station actually had the pilot on live when it occurred and had to cut away when they realized something was wrong.

On that sad note I'll close this. Hopefully I can write about something better tomorrow. A

1 comment:

Cindy said...

Ugh. I thought of you when I saw that in the paper the morning after.

Thanks for keeping up with the blog during what has turned out to be an up & down month, craftwise and otherwise. Maybe I need another vacation ;)