11 Aug 2000
USA: Pastor's wife prays with passengers before plane crash Alaska Airlines Flight 261, en route from Puerto Vallarta to San Francisco, crashed in the Pacific 20 miles from the Californian coast on 31 January 2000. All 83 passengers and 5 crew were killed.
According to the NTSB, responsible for investigating the accident, the aircraft suddenly dropped 7,000 feet, then remained stable for 9 minutes before it fell 18,000 feet in the final minute.
An Alaska Airlines pilot familiar with the investigation told John Hernandez that he had listened to the recordings of what happened in the cockpit during the flight's last minutes. During that time, Linda Knight, whose husband John is a pastor in Monroe, Washington, explained the gospel to the other passengers via the intercom. Shortly before the crash, she led them in prayer to God for the forgiveness of their sins.
The pilot who passed the report on says that there is still no plausible technical explanation for the fact that the aircraft remained relatively stable for those 9 minutes. One thing is clear: it remained in the air long enough for Linda Knight to explain the gospel.
The Truth http://truthorfiction.com/rumors/a/alaskaflight261.htmThere is no evidence this happened. The National Transportation Safety Board has now released the cockpit voice recordings from the flight and there is nothing like this story on them.
Alaska flight 261 crashed off the coast of California on January 31, 2000. The McDonnell Douglas MD-80 jetliner carried 88 people. There were no survivors.
Among the passengers were Joe and Linda Knight from Monroe, Washington. They were co-pastors of The Rock Church in Monroe. Their adult son, who is also a minister, is quoted in news reports as saying Linda was the kind of person who would probably preach to the passengers during an emergency. It is possible that's where the story originated.
When the eRumor first started, there were several things about it that didn't seem valid.
First, the claim that the information came from an Alaska pilot who heard the cockpit voice recordings was not credible. The tapes were in the hands of the National Transportation Safety Board who keeps things like that very secure. It would be illegal for anyone to release that kind of information before the NTSB does.
Second, we talked with several pilots who fly the MD-80 and they all agreed that the cockpit voice recorder does not record what is said in the passenger cabin over the P.A. system. It records the cockpit crew and radio conversations.
Third, it is not credible that any passenger would have been able to spend 9 minutes talking over the P.A. system to fellow passengers. According to published news reports, the first time the plane reported trouble to air traffic controllers was at 4:10pm. The last transmission from the plane was at 4:17pm and it disappeared from radar at 4:21pm. That meant there were about 11 minutes from the beginning of the emergency to the crash. For Linda Knight to have addressed the passengers for 9 minutes, she would have been given the microphone within 2 minutes of when the crew first reported a problem. If anything would have been communicated to the passengers during that time, it would have been from the crew and if they felt a crash was imminent, they would have been talking about emergency procedures, not letting a passenger address the other passengers.
Finally, there is good explanation how the plane stayed in the air. The pilots were able to struggle to stabilize the plane and had reported to controllers that they thought they could make it to Los Angeles International Airport. It is believed that there was catastrophic failure that led to the plane's final plunge into the ocean. So this story felt, acted, and tasted like a rumor from the beginning.