Youíre a feature writer for the Seattle Times.
Youíve been sent to Sea-Tac Airport to do a sidebar on people waiting there who
had friends or relatives on Alaska Airlines Flight 261, which crashed about an
hour ago en route from Mexico to Seattle. Eighty-eight people were aboard the
jet; so far, no survivors have been found. (LINK TO SPOT
STORY BACKGROUND INFO.)
When you get to Alaska Airlines terminal itís immediately clear who the relatives of those on the flight are. Some are weeping. Others are absolutely silent, with blank expressions. One man standing there says, "I think my sister is on that flight." Some are holding hands. One young woman who is crying hysterically says her mother is a Seattle-based Alaska Airlines attendant who was on a flight in Mexico, but she's not sure which one.
An airline employee takes them to a private room upstairs where, an airlines official tells you, clergy and counselors are available to help them through this experience. They will also be fed.
Chaplain Bill Johnson comes out of the upstairs room after an hour or so. He tells you the mood in the room was somber. He says about a dozen family members and a dozen employees and friends are speaking in hushed tones and hugging each other.
He says the people are grieving, yet still hold out hope. "I would say there is always hope holding out in the human heart," he says.
You check out another Alaska Airlines gate, where you speak with Jane Torrance, who is waiting for her mother and brother who are coming in an a different flight. She says when she first heard the news, she wasn't sure which flight had crashed. "Just for a few seconds, the world ended," she tells you. "I feel sick for everyone else."
Diane Carter, whose teen-age daughter was on another Alaska Airlines flight, said she grabbed her daughter when she saw her get off the plane. "I'm going to nail her feet to the terra firma for a while," she says.
Richard Goldberg, an Alaska Airlines spokesman, tells you, "This is probably one of the most tragic days this airline has experienced. I think we're all in shock, just like everyone else is."
Goldberg tells you the crash shook up Alaska's employees, and some attendants cried during their flights into Seattle.
Write the story.