> A Newton County cornfield served as a remembrance setting Saturday for the 68 people who died 15 years ago when American Eagle Flight 4184 crashed in a farmers field south of Roselawn, IN. Family members came from as far away as Los Angeles to pay their respects and remember loved ones on Saturday. The memorial service takes place every year at the site along County Road 400 East, a narrow strip of asphalt running south out of the rural town of Roselawn.
Flight 4184 went down on a rainy, cold Halloween. The commuter flight from Indianapolis was in a holding pattern waiting to land at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport. The ATR-72 turboprop had encountered freezing rain as it circled, which caused ice to build up on the wings, dooming the plane.
The anniversaries that come every fifth year tend to bring out more family members, with attendees saying Saturday’s crowd was the largest they remember. Victims’ families greeted each other quietly as they arrived, glancing at the rows of white crosses arranged on the other side of the roadside ditch. The crosses, the simple boulder bearing a memorial plaque, and the grass around them are maintained by local residents Michael Guerrero and his sons, Nathan and Spencer. Victims’ families also come from far away to occasionally lend a hand.
After a fight waged for years by the victims’ families, the crash resulted in passage of a landmark aviation safety act by Congress; the federal Aviation Disaster Family Assistance Act of 1996. It mandated new regulations in airline safety and response tactics and required airlines to provide crisis counseling and other assistance to the families of crash victims.
Pastor Kathie Hostetter, of the nearby Roselawn United Methodist Church, delivered an elegy praising both those who perished in the crash and the surviving families who fought so hard to keep others from suffering the same fate.
–courtesy: iqesda.com / Northwest Indiana Times