I STOOD ON SMOKING EARTH near Ground Zero of Flugtag 88 and will never forget the stunned horror on the faces of 300,000 spectators as they calmly picked their way around smoking soil to leave the crash site.
I was part of a team of airlift controllers, trying to figure out a way to evacuate the injured from the crash scene to extreme burn centres located in Europe and in the States. We had a comprehensive Major Incident Plan and I remember some of the authentications and steps decades later. We hit some snags along the way, snags that might still be in the Major Incident Plan. I wonder how the technology and training offered through Decisions For Heroes would have played out during Flugtag 88. The software looks for patterns and trends. If used as a primary data map for the airshow disaster in Ramstein, it might have helped sift through the injury list, identify the nationalities of victims and applied hotspot cluster mapping to the treatment facilities. That alone would have prevented ambulances from sitting in queues outside of hospitals that did not have the blood or the room in special burn facilities.
There's a story left untold about Flugtag 88--my story with gritty details about what I saw the day before, what happened the night before and how the most tragic airshow disaster in Europe ultimately contributed to a change of career for me. If you subscribe to my blog, you'll be among the first to know that the ebook is available for free download.
The smoldering medevac helicopter in the shot was hit by one of the acrobatic airplanes, resulting in the death of the pilot who was sitting in the helo's seat, ready for action.
Previously: "No Chocolate. It's Flugtag" on InsideView, August 28, 2005.
"Remembering Flugtag 88" on Inside View, August 28, 2009.