martes, 29 de noviembre de 2016

Tragedy and mystery

The flames appeared to be running up the hill at a great speed. From the small town below, the fire seemed to conquer the mountain with ease. The smoke started to descend shortly and only minutes after the incident, the whole valley was choking on thick and toxic smoke. People got out of the streets and got in their homes, sealing every single window and door in order not to let the smoke inside. They kept the blinds up however, as it was important to know if the fire in the mountain continued or if someone attempted to stop it.

 Sure enough, a larger city located close by, had decided to send a fire brigade to extinguish the fire. But they weren’t only there for that: they were also sent on a rescue mission. After all, the fire had not been caused by some glass in the woods (it was nighttime) or a badly taken care of bonfire. The flames had appeared out of the impact of a plane against the side of the mountain. Only a couple of people from the nearby town had seen it actually crash but they wouldn’t have to know how big the aircraft was or why it had crashed.

 The city’s firemen battled against the flames for several hours. The fire that had grown around the wreckage was so violent that it had consumed a good part of the forest in its first hour. As the firemen took their time to kill the fire, dawn came and it was thanks to the first lights of the day that the fire could finally be beaten. They got to the wreckage and discovered it was one of those private jets. It probably carried around twenty people or something like that but it would be irresponsible to say before getting the black box or any additional information.

 The people of the small town were grateful that the fire had been beaten, so they decided to help the firemen with the search for the black box. They divided themselves into teams, each team having a specific area of the forest to go and look for the box. The awful thing was that, as they looked for that, they found some other things that they weren’t prepared to see. Severed heads, burned limbs and even the corpses of a couple of children. It was very shocking for everyone to see that, as their own children were not very far away.

 A farmer that lived by the mountain finally found the box. He was very thankful that the fire didn’t get to his food, so he rushed up the hill when he heard they might need help. He actually found the black box when walking towards the wreckage, closer to his house than to the remains of the plane. It seemed like something important, so he grabbed it and showed it to the chief of the firemen. He was very happy to see the box and thanked the man. It was a very happy moment in a very awkward moment to feel something like that.

 As the box was sent to the city, the firemen and people of the small town had decided to help carry the dead downhill and then to several ambulances that came and went every so often. They all counted the bodies and, when they didn’t find anyone else, they concluded there were actually thirty-seven people in the plane. It was a very strange number; as such a plane was not really suited for that many people. Even the people of the town knew that or at least they thought it was very strange. The last thing they did was waiting for the experts.

 Those people were the ones that were in charge of taking all the pictures for the report that would have to be filed in order to investigate the reasons of the crash. The experts had taken their time arriving because they had to travel from the capital to actually get there, so many of the objects and the general wreckage site was not exactly as it had been before they started looking for the box and picking up the bodies. A young fireman was bright enough to take pictures the moment they had arrived so he surrendered those images to the experts.

After the experts were done picking up all the pieces, big and small, as well as sweeping what remained of the forest to look for every single piece of evidence, the site became some sort of graveyard. It was very particular because there were no remains there but no one really knew if, maybe, some more passengers had been burned by the fire that had consumed the forest. They had no idea if that was possible so the people of the small town organized a mass one-week after the accident. Some of the firemen attended, it was a beautiful ceremony.

 Meanwhile, the experts analyzed every single fragment of the plane and determined that the model that had crashed had seating for twenty-six people. That meant that, according to the amount of bodies people had rescued from the mountain, at least eleven people had not been seating on a proper seat but somewhere else. That was not really the usual and it didn’t happen very often. The experts also tired to determine if the extra passengers could have been a reason for the crash but everything seem to point that it hadn’t been a critical factor.

 The remains of the planes and of the people were thoroughly checked and, two weeks after the crash, the experts released a statement in which they announced that the final number of dead in the crash had been forty-one and not thirty seven as the firemen and townsfolk had counted. Apparently, the remaining four that hadn’t been counted had caught on fire shortly after the crash and now their remains had almost combined with some of the other passenger’s remains.

 It was only thanks to the black box that they could determine who the passengers were and what flight that was. After all, the nearest control tower had declared that no aircraft had been detected in the area before the crash. That meant that they wouldn’t have had any contact with it and it would also have been impossible to know it had crashed. Other airfields were consulted and they all said the same thing. The first theory was that it was some sort of drug related flight, maybe operated by criminals wanting to get away from the country.

 That theory was soon debunked, as the closest border was almost two thousand kilometers always. Besides, the black box was able to tell the experts that the flight happened to be a private one. Furthermore, the codes inside it were able to point the origin of the flight, almost a thousand kilometers away. The aircraft had apparently left an airfield not so far from the capital city. It looked like they had boarded in a rush, in fear if that was possible. The voices of the crew on the recordings were very difficult to tell one from the other.

 It was rather easy to say that the plane was really crowded because a lot more voices could be heard in the background. The audios were checked several time in order to identify what everyone was saying during the flight. It was hard work because many voice chimed into the conversation happening inside the aircraft and it seemed as if they had been talking every single second until their death. Apparently the instruments had begun to fail and that could be the cause behind the crash.

 But even if that was the reason, it didn’t answer much about why all of those people had decided to get into a crowded airplane. As the voice experts analyzed the audios, others decided to have a second look at the object that had been rescued from the plane. There were toys, glasses, a briefcase, magazines, and a couple of computers… Everything except suitcases, actual luggage that the people inside the plane should have carried. It was kind of obvious that they had boarded on a rush. The origin airport was consulted on that and it was then when they had an extra clue.

 The manager of the airfield had a report of a disappeared business jet owned by a pharmaceutical company. It had been there for several months and now the people had left. No one really knew when but the fact that a company owned it raised some eyebrows. But that didn’t explain the amount of people that were inside. It took another week to have one more clue, when a clumsy investigator dropped the suitcase found on the plane, making it open and revealing a series of papers and a very bright substance in a titanium tank, the size of a forearm. The mystery was not done.

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