20 years ago a plane crashed in Amsterdam.
I remember of that day a plane flying crazy low over our house in the evening and the news breaking through every program on TV that that plane I heard flying over our apartment block had crashed in another apartment block just seconds away on the other side of Amsterdam.
It wasn’t until 9 years later that the crash which affected hundreds of people and killed 43 people including the crew of 3 and the 1 passenger the cargo plane was carrying became poignant beyond the initial disaster to me.
The plane a 747 Cargo plane from El Al the Israeli company crashed head first from top to bottom through a high rise in the Bijlmermeer high rise estate while it tried to get back to the Schiphol airport after it lost a motor on it’s way to Israel. It was carrying unknown cargo and to this day it is not very clear what that cargo was except a lot of people started to have breathing and skin problems in the aftermath and it was suggested that it might have been carrying chemicals for poison gas amongst others.
What made the disaster poignant was the fact that while fires raged in the buildings and the middle of the building where the plane crashed was destroyed nothing happened to those buildings other than that the contents burned as expected leaving the concrete shells standing.
In fact the buildings where later demolished because the trend towards lower buildings had set in and they wanted to build newer and more modern houses in the place of the original building as the high rises were plagued with crime and lack of social control leading to gang forming and drug dealing.
The apartment block wasn’t the only one to be torn down and replaced with lower family homes and in fact there is only one three called the tree who saw it all where people gather yearly to commemorate.
The moment the disaster became important to me again was of course on the day New York saw two planes fly into the Word trade centre and three buildings collapse into virtual freefall speed into their own foot print. Those buildings one of which had not been hit by a plane broke every law of Newton. Law’s of Physics which can not be broken ever!