My worst experience happened on an airplane a long time ago.
After graduating from High-School in Hue, I was quite happy when my parents allowed me to continue my study in Saigon.
Living far from my family, I longed for an opportunity to see my dear people again and at that time the best way to travel to Hue was to use DC2 or DC4 planes. It took me only one and a half hours to fly from Tan Son Nhat airport to Phu Bai Airport. I often enjoyed comfortable and pleasant flights, but one day during my air trip to Hue I experienced the most frightening incident I have ever had in my life.
It was in the winter when I received a letter from my parents informing me off my sister’s approaching wedding ceremony. I hurried to Vietnam Airline Office to buy a return-ticket to Hue. I boarded a DC4 plane that morning. When I was flying over Nha Trang city, it began to rain.
Looking out of the window, I saw Nha Trang surrounded in a dense veil of rain. We were making good time; but when we flew to Da Nang the weather suddenly got worse. It was raining heavily and the wind was blowing furiously. I was a little nervous. The plane was all right for about 30 minutes. I was listening to the music on the plane’s radio. Other passengers were talking. The stewardesses were serving drinks and food to the passengers. Looking out of the window, I saw masses of dense black clouds flying past and Hai Van pass was veiled in a curtain of heavy rain, dimly winding below. Suddenly lightning struck one of the engines. The plane dropped rapidly. Some people were screaming and the stewardesses were falling down. From the cabin the co-pilot’s voice was heard to advise passengers to fasten their seat-belts and keep calm. Looking around, I notice some nuns taking out their rosaries and starting to say prayers. Their faces were as pale as death.
Though I was a hardened traveler and I got used to remaining calm, I felt quite frightened too. My heart was beating very fast and I was trembling with fear. I thought I was going to die. But my fear did not last long. After about 3 minutes, the pilot started the engine again. Everybody on board heaved a deep sigh of relief. We landed safely at last.
I had to cancel my return to Saigon by plane and took a sea voyage and from that time on I have never traveled by air when the weather is bad.”