Sunday, November 16, 2008

Plane Crash with a patient just about to receive Kidney transplant

I went to the church this morning. I had brought some names with me, in my mind that to pray for them. One of is my neighbour a lady who I love, she will be in operation room at Shands Hospital of UF in Gainesville. She just got diagnose with Breast Cancer, spread to lymph node. She email me that might need chemo too.

The other person I am praying for is a lady from Singapore. She always make me miss my sister. She is too young to leave her children and her husband behind. She needs to live for them. Her family needs her to live as well.

I came back from the church and Robins showed me a sad new from Gainesville, Florida. A plane crash with a patient and his wife on the way to receive a kidney transplant at Shands Hospital (same as where I got my liver). They are from Key West. My thought and prayer are with the Taylor family. May my good God has mercy on the family. In life there are so much things that I do not understand.

Why so many die of Tsunami?
Why so many die of Nargis?
Why so many die of 9/11?
Why Taylor die on the way to receive the transplant? Why the pilot tried to land in such a bad weather and end up such a bad result?
Why my mother and sister die of cancer?...go on.....

and mean time...

Why 4 months old baby's liver transplant is doing so well?
Why a lady got liver within one day if not she will die very soon? Why she is doing so well now?
Why some one survive from a plane crash?
Why my grand ma ma is so healthy and still living at 91 year old?
Why my donor die and I am living with his precious liver? Why me?

I do not believe in that you are good that's why good thing happened to you because no one is perfectly good. How will you explain to me why a new born baby die? Such a innocence life? (Some do believe in that her last life, she was bad) Who can surely say about some one last life is bad?? Are you God for to judge someone unseen life in such negative way? Are you no sin at all? Oh so many questions that I can ask.

I will honestly say again, there are so much things that I do not understand but one thing I understand so well. It is, have faith in God. I was, I am and I will be forever have faith in my God. Please please say a little prayer for the Taylor family to night. Will you please!

Gordon Bennett Taylor and his wife Barbara Taylor

Family, friends recall crash victims
By Diane ChunSun staff writer
Published: Sunday, November 16, 2008 at 6:01 a.m. Last Modified: Saturday, November 15, 2008 at 11:42 p.m.

KEY WEST - The crowds streaming along the sidewalk of Duval Street on Wednesday paid little attention to St. Paul's Episcopal Church. They focused on the T-shirt shops, the bars, the tarot card readers and the local characters who dot this stretch south of Hemingway's old stomping grounds, Sloppy Joe's.

Special to The Sun
Bennett and Barbara Taylor.
Few slowed their steps as the bell chimed from the steeple of St. Paul's. On this day, the bell tolled for two of Key West's own, Gordon Bennett Taylor and his wife, Barbara.
The Taylors were two of the island's full-time residents, raising two daughters and working in the tourist trade in a place some folks call paradise.
Bennett Taylor, 51, had spent most of the past dozen years establishing himself as a sports fishing boat captain. Barbara, 52, worked as a concierge at the Hyatt Key West Resort.
Their dream died abruptly in the early-morning fog on Nov. 7, when the Taylors and Andrew Ricciuti, the pilot of the small plane that was bringing Bennett to Gainesville for a kidney transplant, struck the pine trees east of the Gainesville airport runway. All three apparently were killed instantly.
Kyle Taylor, 21, speaks quietly about how much she misses her parents, so suddenly snatched from her life. Julia Taylor, 18, drove them to the Key West airport for their flight to Gainesville.
"They were both so happy," Julia tells friends gathered after the Wednesday evening memorial service for Bennett and Barbara.
It was late Thursday evening, Nov. 6, when the phone rang at the Taylors' home.
It brought the best possible news: The transplant coordinator at Shands at the University of Florida called to say they had a donated kidney for Bennett. Could they be in Gainesville within eight hours for transplant surgery, or should the transplant team move on to another potential recipient on the organ waiting list?
The Taylors didn't hesitate. Bennett had turned down the opportunity of an earlier transplant because he'd been feeling well and felt the kidney should go to someone whose need was more urgent.
Not this time. By 12:37 a.m., they were airborne.
It was around 2:30 a.m. when daughter Kyle, a student at the University of Florida, got a mid-flight cell phone call from her mother, who was aboard the chartered six-passenger plane.
The Gainesville airport was socked in by heavy fog. Air traffic controllers in Jacksonville had told them that they might have to be diverted to the St. Augustine airport, where visibility was better.
Kyle had planned to meet the plane at the Gainesville airport and go to Shands with her parents. While she waited for her mother to call back with word on whether they'd been able to land, she fell asleep.
By now, most Gainesville residents know the rest of the story.
About 2:45 a.m., Jacksonville controllers cleared the small plane to attempt a landing in Gainesville, despite the poor visibility.
When they hadn't heard from pilot Ricciuti by 3 a.m., saying that he was on the ground, they sent out an alert that they had lost contact with the aircraft in the Gainesville area.
The control tower at Gainesville is typically closed from 10:30 p.m. to 6:45 a.m., and control of any overnight air traffic switches to Jacksonville.
It wasn't until 7:09 a.m. Friday that Gainesville's airport facilities manager called 911 to report a debris field at the eastern end of the airport property.
The plane had apparently struck some trees on one side of NE 39th Avenue, then careened into the woods across the road, where the fuselage was found with the wings sheared off.
The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the crash, which investigators have described as "likely unsurvivable." It could be a year before the NTSB issues its report.
The Taylor family lives in a section of Key West that few tourists see, part of a community of small, neat homes tucked behind the Searstown shopping center on the north side of the island.
This is not the Key West of restored historic homes and intimate bed-and-breakfasts.
Slip 3 of the A&B Marina just off Front Street was home to Capt. Bennett Taylor's 41-foot boat, the "Outer Limits."
There is no boat to be seen on Wednesday afternoon. Bennett had a booking to take a couple of visitors out for a day of charter fishing, and his first mate has taken the boat out rather than cancel the trip. A fat brown tabby snoozes on the dock.
In the next slip, a sun-browned guy who gives his name as Jimmy washes saltwater off his boat. As soon as he's finished, he'll go home to shower, shave and get ready for the Taylors' memorial service.
Wouldn't miss it, he says.
"Everybody down here knew Bennett . . . he was a great guy," Jimmy says.
The mates of the "Outer Limits," Cory Robinson and Jay Miller, and some of the other local fishermen, already have banded together. They'll continue to take bookings for the boat through the winter season.
It's the busiest time of year, the time a boat captain and his crew bring in the most money. It's money that the Taylor girls will need. Any decision to sell the boat will have to wait until January.
Kyle Taylor is in her fourth year of a six-year program in environmental engineering at the University of Florida.
Thursday morning, her parents' memorial service behind her, Kyle speaks about her plans by phone. She says she will be returning to Gainesville to finish the semester.
"I will probably take the spring semester off to help Julia get enrolled in college," she said.
Julia and her mother had recently visited several Florida community colleges, looking for the one that would be the best fit for the quiet 18-year-old.
The sisters will keep the family home, with friends and family continuing to look in on Julia.
Her father's kidney disease ran in the family, according to Kyle. Bennett's father had spent nearly 15 years on dialysis before succumbing to the disease.
Bennett hadn't yet been affected to that extent, according to his daughter, but recently he'd had less energy.
His wife had offered to donate one of her kidneys, but Bennett worried because the transplant process is always harder on the donor than the recipient.
When the call came from Shands, the timing seemed perfect.
The Taylors had made arrangements with a charter service, Key West Aviation, for Andrew "Drew" Ricciuti to fly them north when the call came.
Julia drove her parents to the airport.
Bennett and Barbara boarded the small plane. Ricciuti, a 1987 Naval Academy graduate and former Navy pilot, was at the controls of the Partenavia P.68. The plane lifted off from tiny Key West International Airport and headed north.
Julia, an honors student at Key West High School, is a quiet young woman doing well in advanced placement classes, according to principal John Welsh. The school draws its 1,406 students from throughout the lower Keys.
Julia's favorite class is French, and she'd made two trips to Paris with members of the French club.
Julia was already at school the morning of the crash, and it was Welsh who took the call from Gainesville authorities.
"I immediately lined up a counselor and we went to tell Julia," he said.
Welch called Kyle in Gainesville. At that point, he said, Kyle didn't know about the crash either, but was already concerned that she hadn't heard from her parents since the mid-flight phone call.
For the moment, Welch added, he thinks both young women are OK.
"There's been an outpouring of love and assistance for the family," he said.
His concern is for how well they will be able to cope with their loss a week from now, or a month from now.
"After all, it was Julia who took them to the airport that night," he said. "I think it will be awhile before the reality of what has happened sinks in."
The entrance to St. Paul's is just yards from the Duval Street sidewalk, separated by a wrought-iron fence from the colorful passers-by.
Two ancient royal poincianas shade the church yard, which is prowled by a couple of territorial roosters, crowing that this little corner of Key West belongs to them.
The Rev. Kerry Robb is interim pastor at St. Paul's. He recently held the same post at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in Gainesville.
Robb never met Bennett and Barbara Taylor. He'll assist at the service, but the Rev. Max Wolf, rector of All Saints' Church in Rehoboth Beach, Del., has flown in with his wife, Olly, to speak about his friends and former parishioners.
Robb says Bennett's mother, Louise Taylor, had died in June. The Taylor girls will inherit their grandmother's estate, so financially, they should be OK. Emotionally, they will need lots of support.
"This is a close community," Robb said of Key West. "They'll band together around the girls."
The Rev. Wolf puts on the white vestments of his office over Bermuda shorts and boat shoes as he prepares for the service.
Wolf married Bennett and Barbara Taylor 24 years ago in his church just a stone's throw from the ocean in Delaware. He baptized both girls when they were born.
Now he wants to help family and friends whose lives have been changed by tragedy, who are, as Wolf says, asking "where is God in this?"
"Bennett and Barbara were down here living their dream with their children," Wolf says.
Family members share the story of the Taylors' dream during the service.
Liz Holmgren, Bennett's sister, said she'd have a hard time picking just a few words to describe her brother. Resourceful, fair, competitive, engaging, verbal and verbose are a few she thought applied.
"He was a very funny man who always laughed at his own jokes," she said. "He was sometimes full of himself, but we always forgave him for that."
As a young man, Bennett played guitar and loved music. His first business venture was a rock 'n' roll club called Hucksters in Delaware. That's where he met Barbara.
"He had a lot of charm but he couldn't fool Barbara," Bennett's sister recalled. "She totally had his number."
At the age of 19, Bennett left home to fish commercially in Alaska. Later, in Delaware, he served as mate on a charter boat. His dream was to have a boat of his own in Florida.
Bennett and Barbara started an auto detailing business in Wilmington, Del., and Barbara ran it while Bennett got himself established as a fisherman in the Keys.
Eventually he was able to buy the hull of a boat that he spent 18 months converting into the comfortable 41-foot charter he named "Outer Limits."
He built up his business until he was fishing 280 days a year, friends said, including the four days just before he made the flight to Gainesville.
His sister describes how it must have been for some snowbound Pennsylvania resident who called Capt. Bennett in mid-December about fishing and got his voice mail.
"That's where Bennett set the hook," she said, describing his message that said he was sorry, but he was "offshore and out of range" with a party fishing in the sun, and he'd have to return the call.
"He fished every day like it was a tournament," Holmgren said. "He lived a happy life."
Steve Gibson remembers his sister Barbara, five years younger, as a woman who "lived life out loud, with real exuberance."
Barbara Taylor took a position as a concierge for the Hyatt Key West Resort in 2002. Fellow employees said she knew just about everyone on the island in her job fulfilling the wishes or demands of resort guests bent on having a good time in paradise.
"Her needs never trumped those of others," her brother recalled.
At Barbara's wedding to Bennett, Steve Gibson made a toast, wishing them "health, wealth and the time to enjoy both."
The Taylors loved their life in Key West, he said. They just ran out of time to enjoy it.
Max Roth, in the memorial service, stole a line from what he calls "the gospel according to Willie Nelson," saying that his longtime friends Bennett and Barbara were "two angels who flew too close to the ground."
It was dark before the service ended. Friends of the Taylors lingered in front of the church doors, saying goodbye to Kyle and Julia.
Some had the weathered tan and short-cropped haircuts of those who fish for a living. Others wore the pressed blue shirts and navy slacks of Hyatt employees.
Out on the street, a couple on a motorcycle heard the church bell and shouted to onlookers on the sidewalk.
"Hey, let's see who's getting married!"
One of the group on the steps shouted back, "This is a funeral . . . show a little respect!"
Then the mourners slipped away in twos and threes, back down Duval Street, back to their real Key West lives.


Anonymous said...

The pilot was extremely experienced, extremely intelligent, and one of the best people ever to walk the face of the earth. He has flown in combat, and on instruments in worse weather than he died in. It was most likely an equipment failure. How dare you question his ability? You don't know him. You don't have the right to (mis)judge him. How DARE you???? RIP Drew - you're the best ever. See ya, bye.

Helen said...

Dear Anonymous,

The news said "The Gainesville airport was socked in by heavy fog. Air traffic controllers in Jacksonville had told them that they might have to be diverted to the St. Augustine airport, where visibility was better."..

After I saw the news still, I have no doubt that the pilot was as you say "experienced, extermely intelligent and one of the best people over to walk the face of the earth"...

May be out of his kindness, thoughtful and goodenss he just only thinking for the patient to get transplant on time. Look I am a Liver Transplant patient and I knew how times are very important for the transplant patients. As you told me "You don't have the right to misjudge him"...let me give you one question back to you.."How dare you to judge me??"

Read my blog again, I did not say "The pilot is so foolish to land in such weather." I said "WHY the pilot tried to land such a bad weather" I said WHY??I asked because I don't know.

You said "It was most likely an equipment failure." I noticed you did not say "It was an equipment failure." Let me tell you In your saying... "most likely" is representing a huge different. You do not know exactly what happening either. So How dare you?
I do not have ill manner to the pilot I just put on a question because I do not know.

Your comment are very welcome and thank you!

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