Rescuers Mix Up Two Victims, And The Families Don't Learn The Truth For A Month
In 2006, some guy driving a semi fell asleep at the wheel and plowed into a van carrying students for a college event. Five people in the van died -- four students, plus one chaperone -- making this the sort of disaster that smothers a college with an atmosphere of tragedy for, oh, at least a decade. Among the many grieving parents were a couple who learned that their daughter had been one of the victims. Four days later, it was her birthday, so they held the closed-casket viewing that morning, and the burial followed on the day after that.
So, that was just a terrible story that you're no better off for having learned. But when you're in a crash like this, you don't just either die or slip away unscathed. Even those who survive might get horrifically injured, and their story goes on. And so let's look at another set of parents. They received the good news that their daughter had survived the crash, but recovery would be tough. For now, she was in a coma. Between the machines and the swelling, they couldn't get a good look at her face, and anyway, the doctors warned her that the accident may have altered her appearance.
Doctors performed a bunch of surgeries, and over time, the girl in the bed awoke (waking from a coma is a gradual process). Three weeks in, she said her first word: "hi." They moved her to a rehab facility, but even as she improved in some ways, she didn't in others. She didn't seem to recognize her folks. Nor her sister or boyfriend -- she kept saying the name "Hunter," but that definitely wasn't his name. As part of her recovery, a therapist also asked her to write her own name, and instead of "Laura," she wrote "Whitney." Clear mental impairment! Though, hold on, wasn't there a Whitney in the crash? And if you put Whitney and Laura's pictures next to each other ...
Dammit, they'd mixed up the bodies. One of the emergency responders had clipped Laura's ID to Whitney while still at the scene, and everyone else just rolled with it. At the very least, the coroner should have made someone identify Whitney's body, but sparing her parents that ordeal had forced them to needlessly go through one much worse ... though not as bad as what Laura's parents went through when they finally learned the truth. Whoops, your daughter's actually dead, doctors finally told them. Died a month ago, actually. Buried too, though that'll save you the trouble of a funeral at least.
Bodies can be hard to identify, but there are attributes you can look for even if rescuers think all blondes look alike. Like height -- Whitney's supposed body was four inches too short. Also eye color, and teeth, and just what shoes they're wearing, all of which Laura's family noticed were wrong, though they rationalized these differences away. Or how about we identify all victims by scent? "Hunter" turned out to be the name of Whitney's dog. So, that's what she must have been mumbling. "Call Hunter. Have him smell me. Hunter will know the truth!"
Rescuers Killed The Survivor Of A Plane Crash By Running Over Her, Twice
Asiana Airlines Flight 214 crashed in San Francisco in 2013, and you've probably long forgotten about it. We've had plenty of crashes over the last few years, some much more deadly than this one, so maybe the name "Asiana Flight 214" doesn't ring a bell. But here are a couple names we bet do ring a bell: "Sum Ting Wong" and "Ho Lee Fuk":
"Live on the scene is Ray Cistdoosh."