Shear Grace

Surviving “the Windshear Crash of Delta Flight 191”

An encouraging story of hope through answered prayers


Picture of the author rescued from the crash scene.

Newsweek (c) August 12, 1985.

Picture of last remnants of the crash site, August 1985. (c) August 2, 2010.

No one knew than an intense microburst, or windshear, lay hidden behind the ominous wall cloud that bordered the D/FW Airport, just before 6:00 in the early evening of August 2, 1985.  What would unfold in the next few minutes would impact the lives of many and change the aviation industry forever.

Please read the following excerpt from the book, Shear Grace:

“The plane skipped across the highway and landed on airport property.  With a heavy jolt and a deafening boom, the plane thrust itself onto the grassy fields just short of our runway.  Sounds of desperation - the plane’s noisy disintegration, fellow passengers cries as they hung on for dear life, thuds of falling objects - filled the cabin.  Lights flickered down the aisles, as in a bad movie scent.

Immediately, fire leaped up; flames from the fuel stored int he wings, enough fuel to take the aircraft to Los Angeles, its intended final destination.  The fire quickly enveloped the plane.  It seemed as though we flew a giant matchstick.

The intensely brilliant yellow, red and orange flames which engulfed us held an eerie hue.  The heat, however, rising wave upon intolerable wave, was unbearable during the seconds our plane barreled towards its destruction.

As we approached a pair of water tanks, the aircraft suddenly rose up, tilted sharply, and listed to the left.  It struck one of the tanks full force, disintegrating almost immediately.  Sounds of scrams and ripping metal filled my ears in those final seconds.  Upon impact, mercifully, I lost consciousness.

“I’m alive,” I realized, as consciousness returned.  Moments before, I had believed none of us would survive the horrific crash that was thrust upon us.  Still strapped to my seat, with my client, Bill Lackey, securely strapped into his seat adjoining mine, miraculously I found myself lying face down on the edge of the runway.”