Rescue turns into Recovery
July 17, Saturday:
Coast Guard started the search and rescue mission early
morning. Half a dozen Massachussettes state police officers on all-terrain
vehicles began combing the Gay Head shores at about 5 AM, found broken pieces of
styrofoam insulation floating ashore, a mile stretch of Philbin Beach, less than
two miles from the 500 acre estate owned for years by Jaqueline Kennedy-Onassis.
What an irony! Later airplane headrest was floating about three miles offshore.
By noon, discovery of luggage, carpeting, landing gear and headrest.
July 18, Sunday:
"We did everything we possibly could to find survivers,
there was no signs of wreckage, survivors or bodies," said Coast Guard Rear
Admiral: Richard Larrabee. By the end of second day hope was fading. No one who
went into the 68 degree waters of the Atlantic Ocean Friday night could still be
alive. Surviving 12 hrs is very difficult, more than 18 hrs is unimaginable. But
there are just some people who refuse to die even when science says they should.
12 hour became 24 and 48. Every passing hour increased the confirmation of the
condolence from around the world, well-wishers gathered at the TreBeCa in
upper-Manhattan, where Jaqueline Kennedy once lived, to pay their respect, but
still many couldn't accept the reality hopefully waited for a miracle. Yellow
ribbons were tied to the lamp posts with hope. Fear and sadness covered the
Kennedy compound, as well as every American.
But later in the press conference, when the coast guard said in despair "we're
going to shift from our focus on 'search and rescue' to 'search and recovery',"
everything was clear and anyone could read between the lines.
Search and rescue bagan early Saturday morning and ended when it became clear
that the Kennedy's plane had crashed into the Atlantic off Martha's Vineyard.
The Coast Guard estimated its cost for the 'search & rescue' mission for the
first two days even before completing the recovery. Still no clue of the missing
plane, after combing 9000 sq. miles of Ocean.
July 19, Monday:
Divers went into the waters for debris, Southwest of
Martha's Vineyard for the first time. They found nothing at the one of the ten
potential targets for the plane wreckage. Another report says, the registration
papers to the plane washed up on the beach front property belonging to the
Kennedys' 500 acre estate, soggy but intact. I do not know how Jaquline Kennedy
could bear all these things had she lived. My heart goes out to all their loved
July 20, Tuesday:
Better weather, and more targets were identified. The
fuselage was first spotted at 23:30 by a robotic camera of the USS Grasp.
July 21, Wednesday:
In the wee hours, Kennedy Jr's body was located first,
trapped in the fuselage by a robotic camera about 116 ft water in zero
visibility. The Kennedy family had been notified in the early morning hours. The
sisters' bodies were also found in the fuselage by divers.
The three bodies and a major part of the plane's fuselage recovered intact but
damaged and the instrument panel were also brought to the surface at 16:30 hr.
USS Grasp had recovered about 75% of the total wreckage.