Travelling back and forth over the Tasman Bridge in Hobart recently reminded me of an incident back in 1977 when I flew with five year old Yvette to Launceston to see my parents. Before we departed, friends, who had just seen the movie ‘Airport,’ were teasing me. The movie was one of those ‘disaster’ genre films quoted as being a catastrophe orientated adventure. I was not deterred at all. We had been flying to and from Tassy for years and I could not imagine anything going wrong.
At that time Ansett Airlines flew Boeing 707’s into Launceston, in later years they were smaller planes. As we approached the Launceston airport we could see that it was blanketed in Fog. (According to the Bureau of Meteorology the Launceston airport is the most fog-bound commercial airport in Australia.) The plane was circling when the pilot announced that he would dive through the fog to get a view of the runway, if he could not get a good view he would have no choice but detour to Hobart.
The passengers seemed to be chattering somewhat anxiously to each other but I had this amazing peace come over me and was not in the least bit uneasy. I pulled Yvette’s back against me, crossed my arms around her and held her close. (In those days young children did not have their own seats). I had the distinct feeling we were not going to make it out of the dive and as we descended, almost vertically, I prayed, “Lord if this is our time then we’re ready to come.” Immediately a voice in my spirit said, “You might be ready but what about all these people around you, they might not be ready”. I changed my prayer, “Lord if we are not going to make it out of this dive then please cause the pilot to pull out of it now.” Just then the plane pulled up and the Pilot announced we were detouring to Hobart.
My Dad, who was never given to exaggeration, told me later. “We were all standing at the windows; we could hear the plane circling but could not see it when all of a sudden it appeared through the fog heading straight for the terminal. There was a collective gasp from the waiting crowd, I still can’t believe that it missed us but all of a sudden, it pulled up and away. It was so close we could hardly believe it had happened.”
My parents travelled home without us. In the Hobart suburb of Cambridge we were all glad to disembark, alive and relieved, however, our journey was far from over.
This Polaroid picture was the only one taken on that trip