by user Layla
Crossposted from The HILL Chronicles
Nearly eight years after the tragic events that killed John Kennedy, Jr., his wife Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy, and her sister in the plane crash off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard, federal officials on Tuesday released an audio clip of an airport intern.
The transcript of the conversation between Adam Budd, a 21-year-old college student employed at the Martha’s Vineyard Airport, and the call center at the FAA’s Automated Flight Service Station in Bridgeport, Conn., was made public four days after the July 16, 1999, crash. The audio clip was released yesterday by the Department of Transportation was the result of a federal Freedom of Information Act request filed by broadcasters after the crash. A portion of the clip was aired in Boston on WFXT-TV.
It is reported that Budd performed clerical tasks, He is heard speaking in a subdued tone, and his voice is rather shaky as he asks whether the FAA can track Kennedy’s plane.
"Well, who are you?" an unidentified FAA dispatcher asks.
"I’m with airport operations," Budd says, failing to identify which airport until the dispatcher asks.
Budd then says: "Actually, Kennedy Jr.’s on board. He’s uh, they want to know, uh, where he is."
When the operator told Budd he wouldn’t give the information over the phone, Budd backed off.
"OK, well, if it’s too much trouble, it’s … I’ll just have ‘em wait. … It’s not a big deal," he says, according to the transcript.
Budd’s call came in at 10:05 p.m., four hours before a search and rescue mission was assembled after a family friend called the Coast Guard.
Kennedy, the 38-year-old son and namesake of America’s 35th president, was flying with his wife, Carolyn Bessette Kennedy, 33, and his sister-in-law, Lauren Bessette, 34, when his six-seat, single-engine Piper Saratoga crashed seven miles south of his Martha’s Vineyard home. All three were killed.
A report by the National Transportation Safety Board report by the National Transportation Safety Board blamed pilot error for the crash, saying Kennedy, who had been flying for 15 months, was not skilled enough for low-visibility nighttime flying and became disoriented in the hazy sky." National Transportation Safety Board blamed pilot error for the crash, saying Kennedy, who had been flying for 15 months, was not skilled enough for low-visibility nighttime flying and became disoriented in the hazy sky.
What a tragedy that lives are snuffed out because of Kennedy’s arrogance and obvious lack of responsibility. It would have been much safer if Kennedy had arranged for an experienced pilot instead of obviously believing he could handle this flight despite his lack of experience. Pride comes before a fall. This is truly proof of just that.