Al Haynes, the United Airlines pilot whose heroic flying saved 184 lives after his plane crashed in Iowa in 1989, died Sunday.
He was 87.
On July 19, 1989, Haynes guided Flight 232, headed to Chicago from Denver, through engine failure and into an emergency landing at the Sioux City airport in Iowa, making a series of right turns using his knees before skidding to a stop in a corn field near the end of a runway. In the descent, the plane’s right wing broke off completely.
While 112 passengers and crew members died in the crash, the other 184 survived, credited to Haynes’ quick thinking and skillful flying. The miraculous recovery earned Haynes a place on the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum’s Wall of Honor.
“The 112 that died, there needed to be something good that came out of this tragedy and those people never left Al’s heart,” Gary Brown, Woodbury County Emergency Services Director and Haynes’ longtime friend, told KTIV Monday. “He spoke of them often and he wished he could have done more. He wished more people would have survived or all the people would have survived on that crash.”
Haynes retired in 1991 and spent his days in Seattle as a volunteer Little League baseball umpire and high school football stadium announcer.
“He never lost the desire to make the world a better place,” Brown told KTIV. “He will forever be missed by all of us.”