United Flight 232 crash reunion

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In the summer of 1989, United Airlines was running a special: kids flew for a penny, with a paying adult. That drew a larger-than-normal group of kids to Flight 232, from Denver to Chicago on July 19 of that year.

The Badis family was on that flight, too, coming back to Durham from Hawaii. They paid full price for their tickets and that meant young Aaron had a seat of his own that he was buckled into.

That small fact may have been what save him on that day. Well, that and the work of a man he hadn't seen in the 25 years since that flight.

Their story, in this edition of the Buckley Report.


  • Laurence Gonzales

    If you want a copy of the book, just let us know where to send it.
    Flight 232: A Story of Disaster and Survival (W.W. Norton)

    “Flight 232 is a new masterpiece of calamity and courage.”
    —Richard Rhodes, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for
    The Making of the Atomic Bomb.

    “Gripping narrative… painstaking detail… riveting.”

    “searing…engrossing, cinematic… absorbing… gripping…”
    —Publisher’s Weekly

    —New York Post

    “A remarkably vivid, cinematic account.”
    —The Sioux City Journal

    “a comprehensive and gripping tale”
    —The Toronto Star

    “the definitive account of this catastrophe… riveting… vivid and sympathetic…”
    —The Washington Post

    “I read FLIGHT 232 right through, from the first page to the last without a pause, and it is a kind of miracle, combining meticulous research, intense and even agonizing drama, and a soaring intensity of emotion that leaves one feeling exalted, not depressed at the end of a book about a grisly air crash that spares no details. The instances of heroism and self-sacrifice in the face of unimaginable horror are countless, and rendered with a kind of spare dignity that rises above the macabre. As writing about aviation goes, I would put this book beside that great classic, Ernest K. Gann’s Fate Is The Hunter—Gann would have loved this book, and I think it is every bit as good as his.”
    —Michael Korda, Editor-in-Chief, Simon & Schuster

  • ellen Badis

    Adrienne and Ellen Badis knew nothing about UA’s summer children’s deal; our two sons,Aaron 2 1/2 ,and Eric,6,had their own seatsand, 11 rows apart. I still to this day empathize with our head F/A as she had to decide the best brace position for the lap children. Whenever I fly (not often) and I see a child in their parent’s lap I can’t help but think of those children who perished. Ellen Badis

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