Captain Al Haynes, who was captain aboard United Airlines Flight 232, passed away last week at a Seattle hospital following an undisclosed illness.
Haynes was at the helm of the Douglas DC-10 tri-engine airliner with 295 aboard on a flight from Denver to Chicago when the tail-mounted engine of the tri-engine jet experienced an uncontained failure, rupturing hydraulic flight control lines and rendering the plane nearly unflyable. Haynes and his two fellow pilots in the cockpit, first officer William Roy and second officer Dudley Dvorak, along with a passenger, DC-10 pilot Denny Fitch, worked together to keep the plane airborne and under control for about 45 minutes, before making a forced landing at Sioux City, Iowa. The plane crashed more than it was landed, and 112 people died in the accident. But 184 people survived, including all four pilots, though Haynes was knocked unconscious in the crash. First responders would later call it a miracle than anyone was pulled alive from the wreckage of the flight deck.
Haynes went on to become a public speaker, sharing the tale of Flight 232 with audiences around the world. A gifted speaker, what many commented on was Haynes’ tremendous modesty. He never took credit as a hero for his actions that day—though he surely was that—instead insisting that it was a team effort, giving much credit to Denny Fitch, who was the one who figured out how to control the plane using the thrust levers alone, something he had practiced in a simulator previously. Throughout the remainder of his life, Haynes would remember the people who had died on Flight 232 and expressed his remorse that not every life was saved.
Haynes was 87.
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