When I grew up in Saudi Arabia in the 1970’s, I specifically remember a story about a plane skidding off the runway during landing. I have heard the story once again in a movie so not sure if it really happened.
So this flight loads up a bunch of passengers in a very small, one dirt runway town in Africa. It’s a pilgrimage flight bringing muslims to Mecca. This particular flight is wholly made up of people on their first pilgrimage and most have never been on an airplane. The passengers are leaving for a month you can imagine the amount of personal food items, clothing etc…
The flight takes several hours, it’s an old propeller plane and the flight over the Red Sea is uneventful until the landing. Just short of touchdown the right landing gear won’t extend and it is quickly determined this will be a very dangerous situation.
The pilot brings the plane down gently and is successful in putting the plane on the dirt but as the landing speed diminishes the wing without the landing gear digs into the side of the runway. The plane literally spins 180 degrees and eventually comes to rest several hundred yards into a rocky gully.
Amazingly… the passengers quietly start assembling their items that are strewn around the cabin and begin to disembark the wreckage. Not an inkling that they had just survived a crash landing.
They had never been on a plane before, so they had no reason to believe that a landing is done any other way. As far as they were concerned, that was a normal landing!
It is possible to go through life being completely oblivious to something that might be obvious to someone else.
Keeping an open mind to new ideas can alleviate a large percentage of “if I had only known” moments.
Next time you come across someone sharing a life experience, take the time to listen.