Stories, thoughts, observations, rants and dribble. Just another of my attempts to keep the interested people informed ...

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Tower! Plane! September! Drama!

We were in the middle of service last night around 9pm and there began a sneaky and efficient evacuation of the Sky Tower. I didn't even cotton on to the fact that there was anything going on initially, although it was a bit weird that a couple of the new tables were waiting on people that were apparently not allowed up the tower yet. The evacuation was quite well done, in the sense that it was done in an orderly fashion and nobody was told what the evac was for (to reduce the possibility of a general panic).

When we got to our meeting point (the staff cafeteria), the election coverage was on the TV. Yesterday was election day and it's still so close that the special votes could swing it. We won't know who is going to be Prime Minister until all the votes are counted and one of the major parties has negotiated with the minor parties to form a viable government. Very interesting. Meanwhile, I digress. There was an announcement on the election coverage that someone had stolen a small airplane from Ardmore Airport and threatened to fly it into the Sky Tower. Yikes! So we waited patiently and after about half an hour they announced on the TV that he had crashed into the sea off Kohimarama Beach (some distance from the tower).

As soon as we'd heard we were safe and sound, it was back up again to the strangely deserted restaurant. It was eerie, the lights were still dimmed, there were tables fully laden with food and wine, but no customers in sight. We turned up the lights and the music, and demolished everything that was waiting on the hotline to be delivered (mmm oysters and smoked salmon). Clearing up didn't take near as long as usual since we didn't have to wait for guests to leave. There was a bit of a discussion aftewards about the crazy man and the plane, and we weren't even sure that the Cessna would have done all that much to the tower had he hit it. There was a lot of rumour and speculation but we were all pretty glad he didn't actually make his target.

Today's news announced that the guy was a former flying instructor and the whole thing was motivated by a relationship breakup (maybe someone dumped him cause he was a psycho?!). He stole the plane at about 7pm so must have been flying around for ages. And the police have admitted that there would have been nothing they could have done if he really had gone for it. NOT very comforting, police, thank you.

4 comments:

Cheryl said...

Oh my god!! So glad you're safe and the freak didn't fly the plane into the building!! Keep the blogs coming... they're great!

Rebecca said...

Scary stuff! Was thinking of you on Saturday night. What a weird (and kind of sad) way to get your ex's attention...

Wendebular said...

News reporters managed to get into the airfield and into several small planes without being noticed at all. It is a 10 minute flight to the tower from there, had they known how to hotwire a plane. You don't need authorisation to fly right up to the tower. There are no new security measurements at airfields around Auckland. They showed all this on the news! What does this say to potential crazies?!

Slightly comforting is the fact that a Cessna wasn't going to do that much damage to the tower, even had it hit the restaurant levels. It would have blown out some windows and maybe caused a fire, but it would still be structurally sound. Whew.

Wendebular said...

To clarify, since I didn't realise I didn't say, the crazy Cessna thief is alive and well. He was rescued by a couple of bystanders on the beach. He's now facing charges for stealing the plane, with more charges to come (big ones, hopefully).

He probably cost Sky City over $20,000 that night, although that's not much of a price to pay for everybody's safety. Hopefully this hasn't done any lasting damage in the form of encouraging future lunatic plane incidents.