THE CRASH OF COMAIR FLIGHT 5191; Congressional Record Vol. 152, No. 107
(Senate - September 05, 2006)

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[Pages S8921-S8922]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []

                    THE CRASH OF COMAIR FLIGHT 5191

  Mr. McCONNELL: Mr. President, it is difficult to put into words what 
the citizens of Kentucky are feeling. Nine days ago, tragedy struck the 
heart of our Commonwealth when Comair Flight 5191 crashed shortly after 
takeoff at Blue Grass Airport, in Lexington, KY. Forty-nine people 
  This single, devastating event is of course not one story but many. 
This crash has brought grief into scores of families and countless 
lives, all over Kentucky and beyond. Holes that cannot be filled have 
been created in places like Lexington, Georgetown, Somerset, London, 
Harrodsburg, and Richmond.
  Funeral services have been conducted across Kentucky over recent 
days, and I know I am joined by all Kentuckians in extending heartfelt 
sympathy for the families and loved ones of the victims.
  After a catastrophe as great as the crash of Comair Flight 5191, 
sorrow can be overwhelming. Many people in my state are feeling that 
way now. And the entire state is struggling for answers in the face of 
such an unexpected tragedy that is so unbearable.
  Since the crash I have been learning, as many Kentuckians have, about 
the lives of the victims, who they were and where they were going that 
  Four Kentuckians on the plane worked for Galls, a Lexington-based 
company that makes public safety equipment and apparel. Three of them 
were flying to New Orleans to help deliver new uniforms to New Orleans 
police officers after Hurricane Katrina.
  Jonathan Hooker, 27, and Scarlett Parsley Hooker, 24, spent only 
hours together as husband and wife before they both boarded Flight 5191 
to fly to California for their honeymoon. The Reverend Terry Gabbard 
married them the night before the flight in a beautiful evening 
ceremony in Lexington. One week later, he would speak at their funeral.
  The deaths of these two newlyweds so soon after starting their lives 
together devastated many in their hometown of London, Kentucky. Jon had 
a lot of friends after attending London's North Laurel High School, 
where he was a star athlete.
  He went on to pitch for the University of Kentucky baseball team from 
1997 to 2001, and then to work as a professional minor-league baseball 
player. In the last few months of his life, he helped others as a 
substance-abuse counselor. He liked to play golf, and worked with a 
youth baseball league in London.
  Scarlett, his wife, was a 2004 graduate of Centre College, in 
Danville, Kentucky, and was attending the University of Kentucky to 
pursue a master's degree in communication disorders. An avid swimmer, 
among the many friends she leaves behind are the members of a local 
London swim team she helped found: the Barracudas.
  My friend Lee Todd, the president of the University of Kentucky, put 
it well when he said that this young couple ``held all the promise that 
youth and love carry.'' Because of the tragedy of Flight 5191, we will 
never get to see that promise fulfilled.
  A promise was also snuffed out in Lexington at the same time--the 
promise of a father to a young son to watch him grow up. Clarence Wayne 
Fortney II, called C.W. by his friends and 34 years old, died in Flight 
5191, leaving behind his wife Sarah and their 16-month-old son Calvin 
  C.W. was flying to Atlanta to report for work as a pilot for AirTran 
  C.W. grew up in Stanton, Kentucky, and always wanted to be a pilot. 
Both his father and his grandfather were private pilots. When he was 5, 
his mother

[[Page S8922]]

paid $35 for his first ride in a prop jet plane. C.W. realized his 
dream after graduating from Eastern Kentucky University with an 
aviation degree.
  A kind man, during his and Sarah's courtship, C.W. helped care for 
her father with terminal cancer. As a pilot, he received commendations 
from Federal Aviation Administration officials who flew on his plane. A 
few days before the crash, he and Sarah celebrated their 8-year wedding 
  This past Sunday, at C.W.'s funeral, 300 mourners pinned on pairs of 
pilot's wings. Mourners also got to see Mr. Lamb, a tiny stuffed lamb 
that C.W. bought for his wife on a whim about 3-years ago at an airport 
gift shop. Now, their toddler son Calvin James takes Mr. Lamb 
  Sarah has said that as she raises Calvin James, she will be sure to 
teach him the words his father took as his motto: ``In dreams and in 
love, there are no impossibilities.'' We hope it is not impossible that 
one day, Calvin James will soar as high as his father did.
  Last week's crash also robbed the world of Patrick Smith, 58, of 
Lexington. Pat's ultimate destination that morning was Gulfport, MS. 
That was only a short distance for him. Because of his volunteer work 
with Habitat for Humanity, Pat had traveled to Ghana, Sri Lanka, 
Northern Ireland, South Africa, Mexico, and India to build houses for 
those less fortunate than he.
  Pat was a member of Habitat for Humanity International's Board of 
Directors, as well as the board of his local Lexington chapter, and had 
served with the organization for more than 15 years. He excelled at 
organizing fellow volunteers from Kentucky and leading them in their 
humanitarian efforts.
  Under his direction, 80 Kentucky volunteers constructed 26 houses in 
small fishing villages in southern India for people who had lost 
everything in the tsunami of 2004.
  He also helped those closer to home. Pat's final trip to Gulfport was 
to follow up on the work he had already done in 7 trips to Mississippi 
before, for a project to build 13 houses on South Carolina Avenue to 
replace the ones that were washed away by Hurricane Katrina.
  Pat's wife Jean often accompanied him on his projects, although last 
Sunday on Flight 5191 Pat traveled alone. Pat had done so much good 
work for the organization that he was named Habitat's volunteer of the 
year in 2003.
  Several of Pat's volunteer projects were sponsored by his church, 
Cathedral of Christ the King. He worked as a partner at a Lexington 
industrial automation company, Versa Tech Automation.
  Pat once stated very simply the reason he had dedicated so much of 
his time and efforts to volunteer work: ``We have an obligation to 
help.'' Now his wife, Jean, and their children and grandchildren will 
rely on the help of others as grief sets in.
  I am glad that newspapers all across Kentucky have printed details 
like these about the victims of the terrible crash of Comair Flight 
5191. This way we can know not just how these people died, but also how 
they lived.
  I am also grateful that even in such dark times, the generosity and 
kindness of Kentucky continues to shine through. Local volunteers have 
been invaluable to the relief and recovery effort, and to the families 
that have been left behind to grieve.
  Volunteers from local chapters of the Salvation Army served as 
chaplains and grief counselors. They also served more than 1,000 meals 
and over 6,000 snacks and drinks to relief workers at the crash site.
  The Bluegrass Chapter of the American Red Cross fielded dozens of 
volunteers, who helped arrange memorial services for the victims' 
families. They also worked as grief counselors and provided meals. Both 
groups say they will stay as long as there are workers at the crash 
  Local businesses pitched in as well with food, and toys for kids like 
Calvin James Fortney and others who lost a parent.
  The National Transportation Safety Board is currently conducting an 
investigation into the cause of this crash. I intend to do everything I 
can to ensure that investigation proceeds smoothly, and that all of the 
questions we have can be answered as thoroughly as possible.
  Mr. President, I have only been able to talk about a few of the 49 
souls that were lost on a Sunday morning. If there is no objection, I 
ask unanimous consent that the names of every person who died on Comair 
Flight 5191 be printed in the Record.
  There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in 
the Record, as follows:

                           Comair Flight 5191

     Rebecca Adams,47, Harrodsburg, Ky.
     Lyle Anderson, 55, Ottawa, Ont.
     Christina Anderson, 38, Inglewood, Ont.
     Arnold Andrews, 64, Tampa, Fla.
     Anne Marie Bailey, 49, Vancouver, B.C.
     Bobbie Benton, 50, Stanford, Ky.
     Jesse Clark Benton, 48, Stanford, Ky.
     Carole Bizzack, 64, Lexington, Ky.
     George Brunacini, 60, Georgetown, Ky.
     Brian Byrd, Richmond, Ky.
     Jeffrey Clay, 35, Burlington, Ky.
     Diane Combs, Lexington, Ky.
     Homer Combs, Lexington, Ky.
     Fenton Dawson, Lexington, Ky.
     Thomas Fahey, 26, Leawood, Kan.
     Mike Finley, 52, London, Ky.
     Clarence Wayne Fortney II, 34, Lexington, Ky.
     Wade Bartley Frederick, 44, Danville, Ky.
     Hollie Gilbert, Somerset, Ky.
      Erik Harris, 28, Lexington, Ky.
     Kelly Heyer, 27, Cincinnati area
     Jonathan Hooker, 27, London, Ky.
     Scarlett Parsley Hooker, 24, London, Ky.
     Priscilla Johnson, 44, Lexington, Ky.
     Nahoko Kono, 31, Lexington, Ky.
     Tetsuya Kono, 34, Lexington, Ky.
     Charles Lykins, 46, Naples, Fla.
     Dan Mallory, 55, Bourbon County, Ky.
     Steve McElravy, 57, Hagerstown, Md.
     Lynda McKee, Richmond, Ky.
     Bobby Meaux, Harrodsburg, Ky.
     Kaye Craig Morris, Lexington, Ky.
     Leslie Morris, Lexington, Ky.
     Cecile Moscoe, 29, London, Ky.
     Judy Ann Rains, Richmond, Ky.
     Michael Ryan, Lexington, Ky.
     Mary Jane Silas, 58, Columbus, Miss.
     Pat Smith, 58, Lexington, Ky.
     Tim Snoddy, 51, Lexington, Ky.
     Marcie Thomason, 25, Washington, D.C.
     Greg Threet, 35, Lexington, Ky.
     Randy Towles, 47, Watertown, N.Y.
     Larry Turner, 51, Lexington, Ky.
     Victoria Washington, 54, Richmond, Ky.
     Jeff Williams, 49, Centerville, Ohio
     Paige Winters, 16, Leawood, Kan.
     Bryan Woodward, Lafayette, La.
     JoAnn Wright, 56, Cincinnati, Ohio
     Betty Young, 74, Lexington, Ky.

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Virginia.
  Mr. STEVENS. Will the Senator yield for a moment?
  Mr. ALLEN. I yield.
  Mr. STEVENS. Is there not an order to lay down the Defense bill now?