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February 4, 2009

Sometimes it's just dumb luck

Several years ago there was a group of about 15 contractors who were taking the evening flight out to one of the gold mines in central Western Australia.

As sometimes happens, there was a problem with the plane. But the show must go on so the management organized for two smaller planes (taking about 6 people each) to split the guys between them and take them to the site.

They drew straws and the first plan left, with the second leaving shortly after.

On arrival the guys from the second plane proceeded to their quarters to get ready for the following days work.

At the breakfast hall in the morning they were greeted by the TV with the news that the first plane was still in flight and now over Queensland.

About eight hours flying time away.

Alongside the plan was the Flying Doctor, with regular updates coming from the doctor who was obviously emotionally distraught.

The light aircraft wasn't replying, and he was left with two devastating options. He could let the plane be taken down before it reached populated areas. Or he could wait to see if someone finally answered him..

A frightening choice for someone dedicated to preserving life.

In the aftermath it was determined that everyone on board had perished within 5 - 10 minutes of taking off.

The plane was flying on autopilot, filled with corpses, across the great empty Australian outback for 8 hours or more.

A silent flight, filled with corpses, under the starry skies of the vast and empty Australian outback.

I have never told this story, I imagine it is a bit chilling to hear. It chills me to the bones - I was on the second plane.

Yes, you do make your own luck. Undoubtedly.

But sometimes, rarely, it is just dumb luck.

We all lead very blessed lives. Many do not.

With all the strife and troubles in the world, make sure to be thankful for what you have. Never take it for granted, and make sure you strive to take full advantage of it.

Because there are many (millions if not billions) who would risk death to be in your shoes.