Home > News > Passenger jet turns around to collect cancer-stricken girl
17 August, 2013
- Passengers and airline staff were initially devastated about having to leave the girl behind, even crying as she was led off the flight
- Her passport was found in another camper’s backpack minutes after departure from the gate
- Everyone agreed the plane had to go back, passengers cheered when the girl was taken back aboard
By RYAN GORMAN Daily Mail
PUBLISHED: 04:51, 17 August 2013 | UPDATED: 13:59, 17 August
An Israeli airline – with the support of everyone on-board – turned around a plane to pick up an 11-year-old cancer patient.
All set to fly to New York August 7 to attend a camp for paediatric cancer patients, Inbar Chomsky, was taken off an El-Al Airlines flight after her passport went missing. Despite a frantic search by airline staff, passengers and the group Chomsky was travelling with, her passport was gone, flight attendants had no choice but to remove the sick girl.
Tears in their eyes, everyone said good bye to the devastated young girl after a half hour search aided by airline staff and passengers failed to turn up the girl’s passport, according to Haaretz.
She made it: A very happy Inbar Chomsky with her found passport at Camp Simcha
‘El Al sadly called her mother to tell her that Inbar’s passport was lost and that the girl, who had been fighting illness so valiantly, would not be able to fly to Camp Simcha’ Rabbi Yaakov Pinsky, director of of the Israeli branch of Chai Lifeline wrote in Yeshiva World News. ‘What a horrible experience for an 11 year old girl.’
Minutes after the doors closed and the plane taxied away from the gate, a fellow camper looking through another girl’s backpack found Chomsky’s passport and told flight attendants, according to Haaretz.
What happened next is virtually unheard of, especially post-9/11.
The plane’s pilots immediately stopped the plane, according to Haaretz, and after about 45 minutes were able to convince air traffic control to let them return to the gate to pick Chomsky up, Pinsky wrote.
Planes almost never turn around: No one could believe the plane returned to pick up Chomsky.
Still overcoming her disappointment while at the gate with Elad Maimon, program director of the Israeli branch of Chai Lifeline, Chomsky and others watched in disbelief as the plane turned around, said Haaretz. ‘The flight attendants could not believe their eyes,’ Maimon told the paper. ‘They told me they had never seen such a thing.’
‘Planes rarely return to the gate after departing, read an El Al statement, continuing that ‘after consulting with El Al crew on the plane and El Al staff at the airport the decision was made and the plane returned to pick up Inbar.’
Overjoyed: Children with cancer and other terminal illnesses spending time at Camp Simcha
Picturesque: The camp is in the Catskills, an area long-popular with Jewish people for summer retreats
Passengers cheered and cried, wrote Pinsky, saying they shared ‘Inbar’s happiness and excitement,’ and calling it ‘one of the greatest moments’ he has ever witnessed.
Located in the Catskill Mountains roughly two hours north of New York City, an area long-popular with Jewish tourists, Camp Simcha is a summer camp meant to uplift the spirits of children living with cancer and other similar medical problems, according to its website. Campers are medically supervised and take part in sports, carnivals, talent shows, helicopter rides and other activities.
Chai Lifeline works with Camp Simcha to bring children with pediatric cancer to the camp, among other activities.