Family Members Survive Plane Crash
LOS ANGELES (AP) _ David Ralph’s family got the telephone call they feared most.
The 55-year-old university professor and president of a small Christian school in Lancaster had been involved in a fiery plane crash thousands of miles away.
Ralph, a marketing professor at Pepperdine University, and 25-year-old Christina Reed were returning from a weeklong trip in Taiwan when they boarded Singapore Airline Flight SQ006.
The jet apparently slammed into an object before takeoff for Los Angeles and burst into flames Tuesday, scattering fiery wreckage across the tarmac. Seventy-seven people were killed and dozens more were injured.
But the phone call had good news for the Ralph and Reed families: Both David and Christina had survived.
``We’re very fortunate compared to many,″ said Ralph’s 29-year-old son, Sheldon. ``We feel very fortunate that God protected him, and we pray for all the other families now that they can hear good news, too.″
Other anxious relatives arrived at Los Angeles International Airport as word spread that Flight SQ006 had crashed. Counselors and airport police hustled family members into a secured area before they were transported by vans to a local hotel.
``The airline is providing whatever support that we can,″ said James Boyd, a spokesman for Singapore Airlines.
Ralph, the head of the 380-student Antelope Valley Christian School in Lancaster, and Reed, an administrative assistant at the school, both suffered burns in the crash. They had been in Taiwan recruiting high school students.
Ralph underwent surgery for severe burns to his arms and hands, and suffered minor burns to his face. He was expected to remain in the hospital for at least a week. Reed was in stable condition with minor burns to her hands and arms and was expected to be released from a hospital Wednesday.
Sheldon Ralph said the family spoke briefly with her from a Taipei hospital. ″(She said) that she was OK and that they were taking care of him and to basically let us know she was all right,″ he said.
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