Friday, April 07, 2006

Stampede at Gate 12, Manchester

MANCHESTER, NH – Travelers at Manchester Airport witnessed two human stampedes Thursday morning. A few minor injuries were reported, but airport officials state that no flights were missed.

The first stampede occurred at 8:12 a.m. Witnesses said that the passengers waiting for Southwest Airlines Flight 815 at Gate 15 suddenly made a break for Gate 12 en masse.

“It was the most amazing sight,” said Wanda Burns, who had been queued up at Gate 13. “I heard this loud roaring noise, like at the racetrack – where, by the way, I recently won $212. Anyway, I looked up and saw this huge crowd rushing toward me.”

Burns added that she maintained her position in line despite the danger. “I’m in the C group, so I shut my eyes and stood my ground. Otherwise, I might have been stuck in a really bad seat.”

Other witnesses agreed that the Southwest Airlines passengers rushing to Gate 12 resembled a stampede. “They all had this blind look in their eyes,” one witness said. “Like it was the most important thing in the world to get to the other gate. I ducked and covered, and nearly got bowled over by a family of four.”

In a statement released shortly after the incident, Southwest Airlines said that the change to Gate 12 was a result of mechanical problems with the plane at Gate 15. “We have an excellent on-time record and did not want to sacrifice that reputation or our one for passenger safety,” the statement concluded. “Thus, the local Southwest managers decided to move the passengers to a plane already prepared at Gate 12.”

The statement also said that the original mechanical failure was satisfactorily repaired just minutes after the initial gate change. At 8:16 a.m., Southwest staff announced that Flight 815 would be leaving from Gate 15 as originally planned.

“That’s when the second stampede happened,” said a Manchester Airport official who didn’t wish to be named. “Unfortunately, it occurred just when another flight was deplaning. And a few people were injured in the melee. It wasn’t pretty – all those people scrambling to be first in the A, B and C queues.”

The anonymous employee reported that three children and one octogenarian sustained injuries from the second stampede. No official report has been released as yet.

Of the 168 passengers on Flight 815, only one did not participate in the stampede. A woman who called herself Meesh said that she had been sitting at the back of the B queue when the first announcement occurred.

“We had been delayed so long that I had booted up my laptop,” Meesh said. “When everyone around me ran for the other gate, I knew that I couldn’t pack up in time and still get a good position in line. So I didn’t bother trying.”

Meesh added that she had just finished stowing her computer when the Southwest staff announced the return to Gate 15.

“I was still there, so I ended up being the first person in the B queue.”

She smiled. “Life is good.”

1 comment:

goodwitch said...

ROFLMAO...I love it when life throws you a nice surprise!