HiJacked on Braniff 1979
Braniff was a new airline in the summer of 1979 and had some introductory packages to Hong Kong at very reasonable prices. Hong Kong was still British and we looked forward to a week in a of sightseeing and fine dining in this exciting destination staying in a luxury hotel.
We thoroughly enjoyed everything and were well into our return flight when suddenly the plane started to descend! What was happening? Outside the plane we could see two MIGs escorting us down.......
Our first impression of Hong Kong was from the airplane as we flew through the maze of high rise buildings as the flight approached the landing strip. I was sure our plane brushed the laundry hanging outside the windows of the apartments we could see through the plane windows. I am sure all the passengers inhaled and held their breath until we landed at Kai Tak.
During our week on the island we had plenty of time to take in all the sights and sounds of that crowded, bustling diverse community.
Our busy lives at home were pretty hectic so the first couple of days we just stayed at our waterfront hotel, ordered room service, relaxed and enjoyed the view of all the harbour activity from our hotel room window.
We did take the junk trip to the other islands and watched our crew barter and procure some fish for lunch from another junk. This was fascinating to watch the back and forth on the pricing and quality and quantity of the fish, which was taken from a cache under the other junk and deposited in a similar cache under our junk. Our lunch was delicious and very fresh. We did quite a bit of sight seeing, but I must admit the food we consumed on that trip is what I remember most.
A missionary friend, who lived at the YWCA, in Hong Kong invited us to have a typical British Breakfast at the Peninsula Hotel. We had the usual rashers of British style bacon, mushrooms, fried potatoes, fried tomatoes, British Bangers, eggs, toast, butter and marmalade…..all with a lovely pot of tea.
The surprise of that event was the number of young Chinese men who came to our table to pay their respects to our hostess. Each one would kneel down in front of her and kiss her hand. They so very obviously had such esteem for our friend who chatted with each person in fluent Chinese. She explained to us that these young people had all been her “children” in her previous life when she was a working Christian Missionary and ran orphanages in mainland China.
These young “fans” kept appearing all the time we were in the Peninsula Hotel. Some of them were employees at the hotel, others were business men who had somehow heard she was there and had came to say hello. This hotel had easier access than the YWCA. The “Y” had the reputation of being the very best place in which to stay while visiting Hong Kong.
Another friend who lives in Hong Kong took us out to lunch at “Jimmy’s Kitchen” and that was the first time we had ever had “Fried Ice Cream” – and it was delcious too. We had the usual evening at the floating night club with dinner on Jumbo Kingdom, but I enjoyed the fish and chips more at one of the typically British Pubs on the Island called “The Beefeater”.
When we boarded our return Braniff flight we expected an ordinary flight with all meals,
but we did not expect the excitement that turned up about half way through our flight.
Since we were in First Class our seats were next to the cockpit with first hand view of what unfolded.
As we sat at the gate waiting to be called for our slot on the runway a passenger became too ill and frightened to fly and she was taken off the plane. This delayed our departure and we had to wait for another “slot”. Eventually the plane rolled away from the gate only to roll back to the gate again.
We were told there appeared to be a mechanical problem and we would have to have that checked before we could take off. No one was too perturbed at this juncture and it didn’t take too much time to find out that the “warning” was not a failure of any kind and we were “OK’d” for departure. By the time the flight was given another “slot” at the very busy airport of Kai Tak we were very late taking off.
Those of us in the first class cabin had eaten our lunch when we asked our steward why the plane had turned around. The steward started telling us that “No sir, the flight had not turned around and was proceeding normally” We, and other passengers, were all shaking our heads because we knew the plane had turned and was descending!
The steward came back and was quickly whipping away all the meal trays and telling us to fasten our seat belts.
We happened to notice outside our windows that we were being escorted by two MIGS and we were definitely landing!....but where?
We were somewhere out over the North Pacific Ocean in a big orange plane.
Go to Consequences for the Rest of the Story.
Lost at a State Park
Lost at a State Park
The Rest of the Story
We love walking in Lake Malone Sate Park, but as we sat in this beautiful spot taking in our surroundings, we looked around to get our bearings, but nothing looked familiar. We were in a lovely glen with steep sides covered in trees and vegetation. Which way should we go?
I took out my iPhone and selected the icon for “Maps”, but it gave me directions to get home from KY SR 973, which did not help at all for we did not know in which direction we should head to get to 973. We were not panicking, but were pretty close.
Before I even said 'Amen' after my prayer to God to help us about that time, lo and behold, two 'knights in shining armour' appeared, in the form of two men in an ATV bouncing down the side of the hill toward us.
We were able to hail the two heroes and ask for directions. It was explained to us that we had stumbled onto a brand new trail in the making, called the “Twisted Tree Trail” on account of all the trees (that we had been climbing over) felled by a tornado .
In order for us to get back to the parking lot, we were going to have to retrace our steps all the way and we had come over two miles.
Our gallant 'knights', taking pity on our advancing years, made room for us in the ATV with ‘Sir’ Jason Edmunds hopping into the bed of the ATV with the equipment and ‘Sir’ Roger Griffin allowing us to squeeze into the cab with him. We were driven on a very arduous, bumpy journey back through this trail and eventually to our car.
What can we do to reward our rescuers who just happened to be in our area? They were there to work on the “Twisted Tree Trail” at, for us, just the right time. It transpires they were not intending to be in that area at all that day.
As it happens, we knew ‘Sir’ Roger, as he is the past President of “The Friends of Lake Malone State Park” of which we were members. We have not been able to attend the meetings lately, but we are proud of the work they are doing to make Lake Malone State Park even more attractive. They host events for families at the Park, work on the trails in the Park, organize “Lake Clean Up” days and many more activities that are generally not fully appreciated by the public.
One of these activities was rescuing two senior citizens who did not follow the standard safety steps when tackling remote treks. We should have tried to let someone at the Park know where we were heading, should have taken water and insect repellent with us and the best shoes for trail hiking, not just good tennis shoes.
We made a nice donation to “Friends of Lake Malone State Park” as they definitely do a lot in the way of beautifying and maintaining this park from cleaning up the beach each spring to providing benches and new trails.
We highly recommend a trip to Lake Malone State Park to use the many facilities there for outdoor lovers. From the well-kept campgrounds, clean showers, laundry facilities, the play-ground, the picnic marquee and the beach to the challenging hiking trails, not to mention the beauty and serenity of Lake Malone. This lovely state park is kept in its very clean and tidy state due to the hard work of the volunteers from “Friends of Lake Malone State Park”. The Friends were instrumental in getting the funds to build a lovely new public boat dock at:
Lake Malone State Park.
331 State Route 8001
Dunmor KY 42339
10 miles from Lewisburg,
For those reading this story you can find out more about “The Friends of Lake Malone State Park at their website:-www.friendsoflakemalonestatepark.com.
You can contact them at:-
Friends of Lake Malone State Park
331 State Route Road 8001
Dunmor, KY 42339
270-657-3111 or 270-772-3294