As a journalist I’m usually the one being accused of misquoting, quoting out of context, making up quotes, etc, etc, generally by people who said something to me that they afterwards regret. Well, I’ve got reasonable shorthand and I don’t often get a quote wrong – but once in a while I have misunderstood what somebody meant, and in that case I hope I’ve always done the right thing and corrected it. But now I’m on the receiving end. And I really didn’t say what the Cape Times of South Africa says I said.I knew something had gone badly wrong when I got a nice email from a South African chum Linden Birns, an aviation public relations practitioner and writer, saying he hoped I was OK after the crash, and specifically asking about my injured leg.
We’ve exchanged notes since then. Linden’s concern was understandable – not only did he believe that one of the aviation world’s leading commentators had just diced with death (I paraphrase) – but here’s what the Cape Times reported:
Kieran Daly, of Flight International magazine, said: “I texted my family, saying ‘you’re not going to believe this but I’ve been in a plane crash, but I’m okay. I think my leg is broken’ … From the CB radio we learnt that, amazingly, there were no major injuries. I kept asking where the ambulance was.
“My mouth was dry and I was getting nauseous. I was in shock. I was taken to hospital and there I waited in a cubicle like every other emergency patient, except that I had a policeman as escort and curious medical staff wanting details of my escape. After a few hours waiting to be X-rayed and diagnosed with a fractured fibula, a relatively minor injury, it all seemed to have faded from reality. That was until the newsreader on the 10pm News said: ‘They don’t come much come much closer than this.’ I have to agree. I’m a lucky, lucky person.”
So where the heck did that all come from? Linden and I have a theory – we suspect the mystery lies in this story from The Independent of London. Take a look three-quarters of the way down. Purely circumstantial of course, and we might be wrong.