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Wedding Will Go On Despite Plane Crash, Hurricane With AM-Hugo Bjt

September 22, 1989

WILMINGTON, N.C. (AP) _ Constance Bland had heard all the horror stories about what could go wrong in the days before her wedding.

But in her wildest dreams she never expected her groom to be in a plane crash. Or a hurricane to wipe out both her honeymoon plans and the hotel arrangements for out-of-town guests.

Barring further disaster, Satuday’s wedding will go on.

″I’m so stressed out right now, there’s no way I could handle planning this again,″ Miss Bland said late Thursday as Hurricane Hugo approached the South Carolina coast. ″If I can just walk down that aisle with 10 people in the church, I’ll be happy.″

Her fiance, Tom Newberry, a New York City banker, was a passenger on the USAir jetliner that plunged into New York’s East River late Wednesday after an aborted takeoff from LaGuardia Airport. Two women were killed. The plane had been en route to Charlotte.

Newberry, 27, survived the crash and was reportedly driving to Wilmington for the wedding.

Newberry crawled out of the wrecked plane and clung to a piling in the water with other passengers until rescuers arrived.

″He said they sang ‘Row, Row, Row Your Boat,’ trying to stay calm,″ Miss Bland said.

About 45 minutes after the Blands first heard about the crash, Newberry called them. Miss Bland said he assured her he was unhurt, but she thought he was in shock. All he could talk about was his baggage.

Newberry’s passport and his tuxedo rest somewhere at the bottom of the East River. But the wedding will go on.

″We thought about calling it off, but with so many people coming down here, I just don’t think my nerves could take it,″ Miss Bland said.

About 225 guests are expected. Miss Bland’s mother spent most of Thursday trying to find hotel rooms for the 50 guests who had planned to check into a hotel at Wrightsville Beach, which was ordered evacuated as Hugo approached.

The storm caused little damage at Wrightsville Beach, where the family plans to hold a reception dinner.

As for the honeymoon - which had been scheduled for the British Virgin Islands before they were devastated by the hurricane - the couple will make other plans.

″I suggested Iowa,″ Miss Bland said, ″somewhere far, far away from the water.″

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