July 11, 2006


R. stayed with me at the weekend and when she arrived back at Huesca on the Monday, there was a message waiting for her. A friend of hers, somebody from the same dance class, had been killed in a helicopter crash in the Canaries on the Saturday. We'd missed the news: we didn't see the papers on the Sunday.

I read them yesterday, to see if there was anything about the accident, and found nothing: but then there was a story in today's El Pais, about the copilot, about how he'd told his family for years that he was working too many hours to fly safely, about how he'd been threatened by the company if he made any complaints, about how, just the day before the crash, he'd called his wife and told her that the helicopter wasn't safe and that if anything happened to him, they should make public what he'd been telling them.

I read this, or read the first couple of paragraphs and not much more, my Spanish being inadequate to carry me much further and my anger being unwilling to allow me any more. I read it as you read something that you knew, you knew that it was going to be something like this because it's always something like this. I read it and then I walked, not going anywhere, walking as a distraction, walking to try and clarify what I was thinking without really wishing to think. Thinking why does it always have to be something like this, thinking were they poor people, these, were they so poor that they needed to cut corners and cover themselves with threats, thinking nothing will ever happen to the people who do this, nothing ever does. Thinking it doesn't matter anyway, it's too late now, it doesn't matter any more and thinking, not in words that I could have spelled out and placed in order, thinking in shapes and moods rather than sentences, thinking angry and pointless and futile and intrusive through the tears.


At July 11, 2006 11:37 pm, Anonymous Sean said...

Words fail me.

Of course, it doesn't take much for the anger to rise; one thinks of any number of industrial accidents - the young student crushed to death on the first day of a temporary job that he wasn't trained for nor provided with the correct safety equipment, or the recent reduction in the fine handed out to the contractor held responsible for the GNER train crash from a few years ago. And then one thinks of Digby Jones, that fat bloviating sack of shit, always bemoaning the red tape that stops British business being competitive, a slimy euphemism for a desire to see business set free from the shackles of responsibility and allowed to make money unhindered from the threat of being held accountable when they make their worker's conditions ever more unsafe.

It's a mad world, sir.

At July 15, 2006 5:36 am, Blogger 632C5R09OW8 said...

"A defrocked librarian"
Why did they sack from your Job
as a librarian, Was it polalical
Please reply.

At July 15, 2006 6:01 pm, Blogger ejh said...

They didn't sack me, I resigned.

At July 17, 2006 3:09 pm, Blogger Graeme said...

It turns out that the commander of the flight that crashed was something of a hero; he'd been involved in some dramatic rescues at sea, including many immigrants whose boats were not capable of getting them to the mainland. For all the suggestions the company will surely make about human error, this helicopter was in the hands of the most experienced person they had.

At July 17, 2006 9:34 pm, Blogger ejh said...

This is so (I suspect you saw the same El Pais article on Sunday morning that I did) but in fact it may have the opposite effect, i.e. if the commander, being a man of such great experience and standing, considered it was safe to travel, then his judgement was surely the best there is and nobody can say it was actually unsafe.


Post a Comment

<< Home