Your second writing assignment

Your second writing assignment, due by 12:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 15, is to write an inverted-pyramid news story from these facts. This story is based on an actual news story, but the names and towns are fictional. Since these stories will not be completely factual, do not post on the class blog. Instead turn your story in to me by email as a Word or Google document.

Here is your notebook:

Who: male pilot and female passenger not yet identified

What: Plane crashed

When: Friday, 9 p.m.

Where: cane field one mile from Anytown High School football field

Why: foggy, rainy evening. Pilot may have become lost, disoriented

Details: Midway through 3rd quarter, plane buzzed field low, looked like it might land. Coaches were about to clear the field. Spectators worried about wires.

Plane flew south of the field and crashed, bursting into planes. Most of Anytown’s volunteer fire fighters were at game and rushed to scene. Bodies of two people and two cats were badly burned. Authorities initially thought the cats’ bodies might be a child.

After a pause while fire fighters were racing to the fire, game officials asked coaches if they wanted to continue the game. They did and Othertown High School won 20-0.

Nearbytown Airport manager Ralph Airportguy (the airport is about eight miles from the crash site) quotes:

“There was a low ceiling, about 500 feet, with a half-mile to one-mile visibility.”

“I had landed at Nearbytown at about 7 o’clock at the weather was pretty bad then. It doesn’t look to me like this pilot was instrument-rated. In this kind of weather and darkness, you fly on instruments rather than visually, and this looks like a crash that an instrument-rated pilot could have avoided.”

“Terry Mechanic, one of our employees, thinks he heard an airport call the tower around 8. He tried to answer but didn’t get a response. Maybe 10 or 15 minutes later, but I’m not sure about that, Terry heard an airplane fly over. I don’t know if it was the same plane. They wouldn’t have taken an hour to get to Anytown, but it wouldn’t be unusual for a disoriented pilot to fly around for a while, looking for a place to land.”

“I don’t think that he filed a flight plan. I haven’t heard of anyone who was supposed to be flying this way.”

Federal Aviation Administration inspector Loren Investigator quotes:

“I’ll be investigating this crash, and I started my work by phone tonight from Des Moines. I’ll be inspecting the site in person tomorrow. Local law enforcement tells me the nose of the plane was buried in the ground about four feet. We haven’t been able to determine yet the origination or destination of the flight. This dude might not have even filed a flight plan. The aircraft was burned beyond recognition. We can’t even read the identification number. It was burned off.”

“Of course, you have to investigate in person and wait till you have all the evidence, but at this point, all indications are that this was a pilot who wasn’t trained or qualified to fly on instruments who didn’t check the weather reports and didn’t realize he would be landing in the rain and fog. And the situation got worse as it got dark and he couldn’t find a place to land. It’s just sad. We have some pilots who are perfectly safe on a beautiful, clear day, but they shouldn’t be flying at night or in bad weather.”

Anytown Football Coach Dave Footballguy quotes:

“He came in real close. Looked to me like he was trying to land that fucking thing right on the field. We were just ready to get everybody off the football field. No way he could have landed that bird on the field, though. Too many light poles and wires and shit. He might have hit something and hurtled into the crowd. That’s no place to land a plane. You couldn’t do it in daylight. You’ve got plenty of space to put the plane, but you don’t have a safe approach.”

“It was kind of a helpless feeling. You wanted to do something but couldn’t really help that guy out. After a few passes of the field, the plane went back to the south over some houses, started to dive, then went straight up in the air and straight back down.”

“The explosion was loud, really fucking loud. It was like a bomb going off. The fire just rolled out of there. Everybody was just stunned. Everybody was screaming in the crowd. You just had this empty feeling in your stomach. You knew there were people in that plane and you knew they weren’t going to crawl out.”

“I was really proud of the response of our volunteer fire fighters. You saw some of them racing to the fire station to get the equipment and others ran right toward the flames.”

Volunteer fire chief Duane Phyrehose quotes:

“I’d estimate we got three trucks to the scene in less than five minutes and had about 25 volunteers fighting the fire. We hustled out to there as quickly as we could, but there was nothing you could do. I’m sure those people were killed on impact the instant the plane hit the ground. In my mind, I know they never even knew there was a fire. The combination of impact and fire were so great that by the time we got the fire extinguished, you can’t hardly even recognize it as being a plane.”

Teacher Richard Educator quotes:

“He buzzed the field probably three or four times, coming down out of the clouds and then back up into them. I’m sure the lights of the field attracted him. Maybe he was trying to tell us something, the way he was going up and then down. Coach Footballguy called the officials over, and I think they were going to pull the kids off the field in case he tried to land. And that never would have worked with all the wires and poles around the field. But then he banked and turned to the south and crashed. The explosion was awful, and there was a tremendous amount of fire. Lots of people in the stands were screaming and the flames were very visible from where we were standing. Volunteers began hustling to the fire station, which is just two blocks from the field, and the fire trucks were out in that field in just a few minutes. It was really quite amazing. But there was nothing they could do for those poor people in the plane.”

Teacher Shelley Schoolmarm, quotes:

“I was working the concession stand and didn’t see the airplane at first, but he kept buzzing the field. I’m sure it was attracted to the football field because of the lights. But I think he discovered it was a football field. When he figured out he couldn’t land, he headed off to the south, where he crashed. We all could hear the boom and see the flames. It was really sad.”

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