Live life fully. You never know when it’s going to be the last day. We often hear this, but don’t really take it seriously until the day you see death closely. And yesterday, I thought it was all over. And I was going to die.
Each time I board a plane, besides the excitement of travelling, I also realise the danger that it represents. Especially after watching so many episodes of Air Crash Investigation episodes on National Geographic. But that’s a thought that you keep aside. “It’s not going to happen to me,” you quietly say to yourself.
Like any other day, yesterday I boarded a Turkish Airlines flight from Istanbul to Amsterdam at 19:50 local time. I always enjoy my trip with this airline, and it was no different this time also. Amazing crew, food and in-flight entertainment. It was just a 3 hours’ flight and 30 minutes before landing, the captain announced that the plane started its descend to Amsterdam Schiphol Airport.
My seat belt was fastened already and I was totally absorbed in the movie that I was watching. This is when I heard and saw it. A loud noise like fire crackers and being at the window seat next to the right engine, i saw the spark. Like fire. And I knew that it’s not normal. I looked at the engine to see if it caught fire, but saw nothing unusual there.
Sitting next to me, my neighbour asked, “what was that?”. We had no idea, and now I could not even get back to the movie. I saw the heavy clouds through which the plane was going and it looked like there was a bit of snow. At the same time, the captain made an announcement. “Ladies and gentlemen, we have just been hit by lightening, but it did not damage anything and we are arriving soon at Schiphol Airport,” he said.
It was a bit of a relief, but at the same time I was still nervous. Two minutes later, the plane was struck by lightening again. This time, a little bit more violent and the plane started to lose altitude. Some people were screaming, others praying. I just felt my heartbeats racing and I started to see images of my husband in my mind. I felt the plane was going much faster than usual and all I felt was fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of death. My neighbour tried to calm me down, but it was too much, I was shaking like a leaf and praying hard in my heart. Then I felt the plane touching down the tarmac and I heard the passengers applauding. We survived this!
I’m pretty sure these incidents happen often and are not considered serious, but almost 12 hours after that it happened, I’m still thinking about it. Feeling lucky, feeling grateful. The most precious thing that you have is your life. And each time you board an aircraft, you are trusting the airline and the pilots with your life. You have no control on what’s happening up there and can only hope for the best. In this case, all I can say is “thank you” to the pilots and God for protecting us. It’s been the scariest landing I’ve had so far, and one that l’ll remember for a long time.