Archive for November, 2008

Help! The Stewardess Just Landed The Plane!

It is every traveler’s nightmare. Imagine this. The pilot has a mental breakdown mid-air and the flight attendant has to make an emergency landing. No, its not a Naked Gun remake, its real life.

The bizarre and terrifying incident occurred on board an Air Canada flight bound for the UK. It began with the co-pilot speaking in “rambling and disjointed” conversation, according to air accident investigators. He was then forcibly removed by the crew (one of which suffered minor injuries!), and restrained. The captain then ordered the crew to find someone who could fly a plane, and luckily, a female flight attendant offered her services as she had a commercial pilot’s license (so what was she doing being a flight attendant?).

The plane in peril made a safe emergency landing in Ireland’s Shannon Airport, and the disturbed co-pilot was whisked away to the psychiatric unit of a local hospital. According to the Telegraph newspaper:

“….The official report into the incident by the Irish Air Accident Investigation Unit (AAIU) did not explicitly refer to the co-pilot’s medical condition.

But it recorded the views of two doctors onboard that he was in a “confused and disorientated state”.

The captain also reported that his senior colleague became uncharacteristically “belligerent and unco-operative” and was “effectively incapacitated”.

One passenger at the time reported seeing the distraught co-pilot yelling for God as he was being restrained.

The AAIU praised the actions of both the captain and crew in diverting to the nearest airport and removing the co-pilot from the controls.

“For his own well-being and the safety of the aircraft, the most appropriate course of action was to stand him down from duty and seek medical attention which was available on board,” said the report.

“The commander (captain) realising he was faced with a difficult and serious situation used tact and understanding and kept control of the situation at all times.

“The situation was dealt with in a professional manner… As such the commander and flight attendants should be commended for their professionalism in the handling of this event.”

There were no safety recommendations from the investigation.”

Dr. Death and His Body Parts Show: Bodyworlds

Professor Gunther von Hagens, or rather, Dr. Death recently opened his BODYWORLDS exhibit at O2 in London. Its deeply macabre stuff, which at first may seem horrifying but then can actually be fascinating, educational and even entertaining.

I rang my sister to tell her about the chilling traveling show, of how Dr.D (who amazingly looks every inch the part) took corpses, flayed and used “plastination“(which he pioneered in the 70′s) to make them come alive by putting them in life-like poses, like the chess match as seen in the photo above, or a man riding a horse, both holding out their brains for us to compare.

I have to admit that while I find the whole spectacle incredibly disturbing (the idea of a pregnant woman and her baby in womb, gutted out for all to see is especially disconcerting), I am not put off to visit the exhibit and plan to go when I am next in London.
Because though one can see it as gruesome, it is the reality of our anatomy – and as a writer for the Times succinctly puts it:

“….the unique view von Hagen’s corpses offer into the reality of our human make-up, means that squirmishness soon gives way to fascinating.

Even more beautiful than the corpses, are the cross-sectional slices. Inspired by 3D MRI scans, von Hagens has cut wafer thin slices through hands, lungs, brains. The plastic gives them a translucent quality, which when they’re easily distinguishable, like the bones of a hand, look like colourful x-rays. When they’re more abstract they bring to mind amber fossils. They also tell some powerful stories. Smokers should pay particular attention to the cross sections of two lungs, one healthy, the other damaged by nicotine. While the brain flabby with Alzheimers is a graphic depiction of the relationship between the functioning of our minds and our physical bodies.”

Here’s an interesting interview with the good doctor on the BBC from 2002.

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