Mmegi Blogs :: Terror in the skies –Part 2
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Friday 21 September 2018, 15:09 pm.
Terror in the skies –Part 2

We were warned to keep our seatbelts on the whole time. So just 15 minutes or so into this evening flight, we encountered terrible turbulence.
By Tumie Modise Mon 18 Dec 2017, 22:39 pm (GMT +2)
Mmegi Blogs :: Terror in the skies –Part 2

It was sudden, even the hostesses did not see it coming because they had this what-the-hell-is-that look on their faces too when I looked. Wasting no time, they abandoned their mission and dragged their trolley to the back of the plane in a spilt of a second.

Now I have this habit; whenever a plane goes through turbulence I always look at two sets of people: air hostesses and white people. I do this to judge their mood and they are usually very good indicators.

If the turbulence is bad, you will see it in their faces even when they try to hide it. If the turbulence is not a big deal you can even catch them yawning. A quick look at the two female air hostesses, then at the white gentleman on the opposite side of the idle confirmed my worst fears. 

When turbulence is expected, pilots usually give you a prior warning and most times they will even estimate how long it would last. But nothing prepared us for what unfolded minutes later.

The plane started jostling like it was going through very huge potholes then suddenly it dropped! We all screamed, the hostesses too! From there it was hell, for the next hour (which really felt like five hours) the plane continued on this terrifying routine of shaking, diving and dropping! At this point, we were no longer moaning but screaming rather openly without even a shame! It was at this point that the two elderly ladies in front of me started reciting ‘The Lord’s Prayer’ which they abandoned long before they reached the ‘daily bread’ part!

At this time my knuckles were now white from clutching the chair. Our meeting with our Maker was inevitable it seemed, and I wasn’t at all worried about dying; I was only bothered at how long it would take to recover, identify and repatriate our remains.

As this nightmare continued for an hour, there were no Rambos on this flight as we were all equal and united in our moaning and screaming. A few seconds, it felt like we were getting over the turbulence, then seconds later we would again hit a rough one! It was at that point that the Indian gentleman on the opposite seat totally lost it and started crying. My neighbour too was a


mess, but I was too busy to even hold her hand and I knew she was regretting the window seat when she suddenly shut the window flap! 

I have never called God like I did that day. They say when a person is scared to death they use their mother tongue to scream or curse. I killed that myth that day, the whole time I kept going ‘Oh God, oh God, Oh my God why, noooo…” .

As for my neighbour, in between calling for her mother, she would beg me to ask the pilot to reduce the speed! Three times she asked me.

The flight to Johannesburg usually takes about 50 minutes but on that day we were in the skies for more than an hour. Suddenly, it felt like the plane had now reduced its speed and the pilot announced that we were now in the skies of Johannesburg. That was some relief, but the bad news was that the situation was still bad and the storm was even bad on the ground. So for the next 20 minutes or so, we circled the skies of Johannesburg. One minute the plane would attempt to land, then seconds later we would feel it backing out flying up again.

Landing was now dangerous. As this was happening, the hostesses were now out of their seats and were walking around the plane asking us whether we were fine.

We all wanted to know if we would land at all and deep down, I wondered whether there was any fuel left in the plane at all from all the circling. I was now at peace with the situation and calm.

 This nightmare was now fully-blown and when we thought nothing could get worse the pilot then asked the hostesses to take their seats then the cabin lights went off! I did a quick prayer, asked God to take care of my children. Someone switched on the reading lights and screamed in terror; ‘’nnyaa re batla go ipona re swa!” Descending and landing takes about 10 minutes or so. That day, it took a terrifying 30 minutes!

As the battered plane touched down, we all broke into an applause led by the white gentleman! Tears flowed too. I still trust my premonitions and I wish this ill on no one!

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