Crash Victims Were Vacationers and Students, Honeymooners and Children
A newly tenured professor and her gifted daughter, a couple headed to Paris for their fifth wedding anniversary, Italian citizens who were placed on an alternate flight to get home, a passionate victims’ rights advocate: These are some of the stories of the people who were aboard TWA Flight 800 _ and the loved ones left behind:
Amy and Kyle Miller, both 29, gave the Paris trip to each other as a fifth wedding anniversary gift.
In France, the young married couple from Tamaqua, Pa., planned to see an exchange student who stayed with her family 11 years ago, said her father, Monty Siekerman.
Siekerman said he finds comfort in family, friends and knowing his daughter and son-in-law are in heaven.
``We woke up to a sunrise, but they woke up to a sunrise many more times glorious. We know where they are and we will see them again,″ he said.
Like millions who watched the disaster unfold before them on television, ``Good Morning America″ host Joan Lunden hoped for a miracle _ in vain.
Lifelong friend Jed Johnson, an interior designer from New York, was on the jetliner bound for Paris.
``This grief added on with the suspense makes it even worse,″ she said during the show.
Wary from the uncertainty, a few minutes later she announced that Johnson’s family in California had learned their son was indeed on the jet.
In St. Louis, Pat Marion said her 42-year-old daughter, Patricia Anderson, and her husband, J. Edward Anderson, 49, were heading to Paris to meet another couple for a vacation in Italy.
``I’m sitting here like a zombie,″ Mrs. Marion said. ``My husband walked down the hall last night and asked me what Patty’s flight number was ... I said it was 800. He said, `It just blew up in the air.′
``I haven’t been the same since,″ she said.
A veteran flier, a doting family man: TWA Flight Engineer Richard Campbell leaves a wife and two boys, 14 and 16.
Campbell logged 18,527 hours of total flying time with TWA since he was hired in 1966.
Three years ago, the family moved back from California to Ridgefield, Conn., the town that was home to the Campbells for 15 years in all.
Capt. William Mayr, a TWA pilot who was hired about the same time as Campbell, was among the dozens of friends who gathered at the family’s home comforting his wife and sons.
``He was just a super guy, a great professional pilot. He worked really hard, loved his kids and his wife. He was a great father and husband.″
In Washington, Associated Press editor John Wilson learned from a TV newscast that his cousin, Steve Snyder, was Flight 800′s captain.
Snyder, from Stratford, Conn., had logged 17,263 flight hours with TWA. He was a man of dashing good looks and courtly manners, neighbors said, as well as a golf devotee.
``You couldn’t meet a more lovely man,″ said Dawn Kusznir, manager of the golf course at the Stratford condominium complex where Snyder lived.
``I just heard this and said, `Oh please, this can’t be true,″ she said. At the pro shop, Kusznir recalled talking to Snyder about her own fear of flying.
``I asked him if he was ever afraid of flying. He said he never gave it a thought. He said he wouldn’t be flying them if he didn’t feel safe.″
At the AP bureau in Washington, before Wilson headed home to break the news to other relatives, he said, ``When you hear of a TWA incident, you always think, `Gee, I wonder if Steve was involved.″ Earlier, Wilson had told colleagues, ``I hope I don’t get a phone call this morning.″
At least eight Italian passengers had been bumped from an earlier New York-to-Rome flight before they boarded Flight 800, the foreign ministry said in Rome. Officials were trying to contact family members of two other people with Italian names on the passenger list, said ministry spokesman Alessandro Motta. The fliers were among 19 people who had been redistributed on three flights to Europe, en route to Italy.
Among the eight: two newlywed couples who had been honeymooning in the United States, and a laid-off factory worker who visited relatives in Brooklyn.
Constance Coiner’s work was teaching English literature at the State University of New York at Binghamton, and she did it well.
Students used words like ``dynamic,″ ``passionate″ and ``enthusiastic″ to describe her classes. Her specialty was women’s literature.
She joined the staff in 1988. Last year she won tenure _ and the college’s award for excellence in teaching.
Coiner, 48, was traveling to France with her 12-year-old daughter, Ana Duarte-Coiner, for a vacation, ``taking a well-deserved break,″ said university spokeswoman Katie Ellis.
Coiner, an associate professor, was a ``devoted teacher and scholar whose contributions to students and to Binghamton University were outstanding,″ said Lois DeFleur, the school’s president.
Ana was gifted, a sometime actress who took ballet and piano and played tennis and softball.
``She was a dynamite young lady,″ said Principal Tom Corgel. ``She always brightened my day.″
TWA flight attendant Paula Carven had planned out a Paris vacation with her 9-year-old son, Jay, family and friends of the Bel Air, Md., woman said.
Patrick Redmond, whose family has been friends with the Carvens for years, described her as outgoing and friendly. He often watched Jay riding his bicycle on their street.
``The Carvens have always been there for our family and extremely good and caring people,″ Redmond said. ``It’s just a tragedy.″
Jack O’Hara, a five-time Emmy Award winner, was taking his wife, Janet, and 13-year-old daughter, Caitlin, to Paris on what was to have been his last assignment as executive producer of ABC Sports.
His assignment: supervising coverage of the wrapup of the Tour de France cycling race.
The O’Haras’ twin boys, Brian and Matthew, 12, stayed home in Irvington, N.Y., with their grandparents.
``Jack was a great guy who was passionate about his work,″ said Bob Iger, the chief executive officer and president of Capital Cities/ABC Inc.
``It’s a surreal atmosphere at ABC Sports and at the network. No one believes it actually happened. It’s been a nightmare,″ said Mark Mandel, director of media relations for ABC Sports.
O’Hara, 39, was responsible for all aspects of the production of ABC Sports telecasts, including ``Monday Night Football″ and ``ABC’s Wide World of Sports.″
O’Hara joined ABC Sports in 1983 after three years as a producer with Major League Baseball Productions. Mandel said O’Hara had not told ABC of his plans when he gave notice he was leaving.