Trains, planes and golf courses

Published 9:06 am Tuesday, August 25, 2015

By now we all fully comprehend that danger may lurk inside our schools, movie theaters, planes, trains, and churches.

Now we can add a golf course to the “dangerous” list – perhaps the last place on Earth where we could fear for our safety.

This past Wednesday (Aug. 19) while a threesome was enjoying an early morning round of golf at Green Meadows Golf Course in Mount Holly, NC, they took note of an object falling from the sky in their general direction.

According to Charlotte TV station WBTV, a small panel from an American Airlines flight fell from the plane as it was preparing to land in Charlotte.

According to American Airlines, Flight 1910 was landing in Charlotte from Dallas when it lost a small panel door prior to landing.

A WBTV viewer said he was golfing with two other men at the Green Meadows Golf Course when they saw an object “falling from the sky, twirling around in circles and land approximately 40 yards to the right of the green” near the 7th hole. It happened around 8:20 a.m.

The golfers notified the FAA as well as the officials at the golf course, who secured the panel.

The Airbus A321 was carrying 146 passengers at that time and landed safely 20 minutes after losing the panel.

According to American Airlines, the panel door covers the hydraulic servicing area, which is not a pressurized area of the aircraft. It would not cause a flight safety issue.

But the panel was a safety issue on the ground. Thankfully, none of three men playing golf that morning was injured; but I wonder if the plane’s pilot will use a mulligan in an effort to get the door closer to the hole the next time he flies over the golf course?

And for our safety on a train….that took a turn for the worse this past Friday in France. Had it not been for the heroic actions of three brave Americans, the carnage on that Amsterdam to Paris train would have numbered in the triple digits as there were 554 passengers on board.

But what the gunman failed to bargain for was the fact that Americans have this special sixth sense when it comes to terrorists. I guess we can trace that back to 9-11-2001.

As he boarded the train in the last carriage car, the terrorist was seen toting an AK-47 high powered assault rifle along with a handgun. He also had nine magazines of ammunition for the AK-47

While some ran for cover, the three Americans headed towards the bad guy. Two were military men – Spencer Stone from Sacramento, California is in the US Air Force and Alek Skarlatos, of Roseburg, Oregon, is a member of the National Guard in his state. The other was their friend – Anthony Sadler, a senior at SacramentoStateUniversity.

“As he was cocking it to shoot it, Alek just yells: ‘Spencer, go!’ and Spencer runs down the aisle,” Sadler told news outlets. “Spencer makes first contact; he tackles the guy, Alek wrestles the gun away from him, and the gunman pulls out a box cutter and slices Spencer a few times. And the three of us beat him until he was unconscious.”

Stone was admitted to a hospital with serious injuries to his hand that required surgery.

The bad news is that three other passengers were injured prior to the Americans taking action. The good news is that nobody died, plus a terrorist will rot in prison for the rest of his life.

The suspect was identified as Ayoub El Khazzani, a Moroccan national who is linked to radical Islamist networks.

Thank goodness three brave Americans just happened to be on that train. That terrorist initially held the upper hand with all the firepower in his possession, but you can’t pull the trigger when you are knocked out and laying on the floor.

Cal Bryant is Editor of Roanoke-Chowan Publications. He can be contacted at or 252-332-7207. 

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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