Since 1967, there have been six air disasters involving flights numbered 191…
He was an experienced pilot. It was a routine flight. Five hours from New York’s JFK Airport to Las Vegas.
Three hours after take-off on 27 March 2012, things were going well.
And then, that experienced pilot, the plane’s captain, turned to his first officer in the cockpit.
‘We need to take a leap of faith,’ he said seriously. ‘We’re not going to Vegas. And I can’t be held responsible when this plane crashes.’
Suddenly, he was ranting about religion, about terrorism, about sins. His breathing was short, erratic. Beads of sweat were appearing on his forehead.
Captain Clayton Osbon, 49, who’d been flying since he was 24 in 1988, was having a panic attack. No one knew why, or what had started it.
He turned off the radios. He dimmed the monitor. And then he leapt out of his seat, ran into the cabin screaming something about Jesus.
First Officer Jason Dowd saw his chance. He locked the captain out of the cockpit, took control of the plane.
Osbon was on the rampage, had to be held down by the cabin crew and the passengers.
But Dowd had control, landed JetBlue Airways flight 191 at the nearest airport.
After his uncharacteristic outburst, Osbon was banned from flying. But criminal charges against him were dropped when he was found to be insane.
His psychologist later claimed Osbon’s in-flight meltdown was due to sleep deprivation. But maybe the curse of flight 191 had struck again…
Comar flight 191
Only six years before, Comair Flight 191 was taking off from Lexington Airport, Kentucky, bound for Atlanta.
The plane went down the wrong runway. A shorter runway than was safe for a plane its size. It overran. Crashed just past the runway. Sadly, 49 were killed.
Delta Airlines flight 191
Then there was Delta Airlines flight 191. It was at the northern edge of Dallas Fort Worth International Airport on the afternoon of 2 August 1985 when it hit an intense downdraft and slammed into the ground. This time, there 137 fatalities.
American Airlines flight 191
In 1975, American Airlines flight 191 had just taken off from O’Hare Airport, Chicago, when its left engine fell off. Another crash. And another 271 people dead.
Prinair Flight 191
Prinair flight 191 was flying within Puerto Rico in 1972, when the plane crashed while attempting to land at Mercedita Airport. Five people died in the accident.
What is it about flight 191?
Could it just be coincidence that so many flights with these three digits have come down? Is it unlucky? Or is there something else?
Over the years, numerologists have pointed out that 191 rearranged is 9/11. The day in 2001 that al Qaeda terrorists hijacked four planes. 2,753 were killed.
Al Qaeda are also said to be behind the bombing of four Madrid commuter trains on 11 March 2004. The number of people killed? Where there is tragedy, there is 191.
But what does the number signify?
Could it be a terrifying new world order? Could the number be pointing to some higher power?
Or to some elite group of people who are managing to pull the strings?
Is it mere coincidence that if you added together the value of all the coins available in the USA from 1¢ to 1$, the value is 1.91$. Or 191¢.
Each of those cent coins depicts a president, a man of power. Is it a hint? That presidents and rulers perhaps belong to some secret group able to manipulate events, exert control.
And is it just another coincidence that the 1$ coin shows an eagle, its wings spread wide, further connecting men of power with flight, with the control of the skies?
Surely these are just elaborate conspiracy theories…
But there’s more. There’s something that connects the most powerful presence of all with these air disasters. It’s in the Bible.
Heaven declares the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Some may believe God is at work in the skies. Making the sun shine, the clouds form. But is he also knocking planes out of them?
In 2014, there are no airlines that use 191 as a flight number anymore. There have been too many plane crashes and tragedies.
If there’s a link, a cause, a reason, no one knows what it is. But it seems naming a flight 191 is a risk no airline wishes to take.