As the rest of Delta flight 1427 prepared for takeoff by eagerly tuning in to the flight attendant’s demonstration on the aircraft’s safety procedures, area passenger Hugh Daniels made the conscious decision to continue playing solitaire on his laptop—thereby missing the one-time explanation of information that would become absolutely essential about 20 minutes from then.
“There are eight exits on this plane. All exits are clearly marked with an exit sign. However, if there is a loss of power and visibility is reduced, white emergency floor lights will lead you to red lights, which will indicate an exit,” said the flight attendant, unknowingly detailing the exact situation that was set to occur moments after take off.
As the other passengers took a moment to find the exits closest to them, keeping in mind the nearest exits might be located behind them, Daniels took a moment to find a place to play his two of clubs.
“It’s unlikely,” continued the flight attendant, describing a scenario that was in fact more than likely. “But if cabin pressure changes, the panels above your seat will open, revealing oxygen masks. Be sure to adjust your own mask before helping others.”
As the other passengers reviewed their safety information cards and mentally rehearsed placing oxygen masks over their mouths and noses and tightening the necessary straps, Daniels scoffed and muttered “yeah, yeah, help others before helping yourselves,” under his breath before returning to his computer game.
“Lastly, in the case of a water evacuation, your seat cushion will function as your flotation device…” said the flight attendant as Daniels put on his headphones so he could better concentrate on his game—effectively drowning out the essential piece of information that could have been used to save his life.
“I’m a frequent flyer,” commented Daniels. “I don’t need to listen to these announcements.”
Daniels was last seen closing his eyes and settling down for a nap just as the pilot reached for the emergency switch and turned the plane into a downward spiral.