When a Turkish Airlines Boeing landed short and broke apart at Amsterdam's Schipol, the first word to the public was a Tweet, sent out by a fellow who lives near the airport. "Looking at a crashed aeroplane near Schipol," he wrote within minutes of the Flight 1951's impact - which killed at least nine people. His postings, at 140 characters, maximum, were running ahead of the Internet, and Twitter was soon outpacing even that fast-paced electronic communications system once known as the web.
So also when a US Airways Airbus ditched in New York City's Hudson River last month, first word - and first pictures, above, courtesy of Twitter - came as a Twitter. Even though the very first was from an eyewitness, some of the survivors of Flight 1549 soon Tweeted. None of these though has the immediacy of last December's historic Tweet - by a passenger on board Continental Airlines' Flight 1404, which skidded off of a Denver runway and burst into flames. This Tweet came from a guy right after he got out of the plane and was standing near the runway. The fellow, named Mike Wilson, also posted the picture above.
As a journalist, we can think of a few pluses; as an airline guy, we can think of a lot of negatives to this 'Disaster Tweet' trend.