SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) – On July 19, it will have been 30 years since the crash of United Flight 232 changed the lives of many Siouxlanders.
From those onboard the DC-10, to the hundreds who offered aid on July 19, 1989 remains seared in their memory. That includes a trio of nurses, still on the job.
The flight was scheduled from Denver to Chicago, but when the plane experienced mechanical problems, it was diverted to Sioux City for an emergency landing.
“This is the biggest thing we have ever done in our nursing career or we will do. This is the biggest day,” said Kim Coy, one of the emergency nurses the day of the crash.
Coy, along with Teresa Worrell, Carrie Closter and dozens more were standing by when casualties from the 232 crash arrived at Marian Health Center.
Worrell was off work when word came of the disaster. She remembers rushing back to the hospital thinking it wouldn’t amount to much.
“Planes don’t fly into Sioux City, so there isn’t gonna be very many victims or patients and people don’t survive plane crashes,” said Worrell.
Day turned into night, and Closter remembers the never-ending line of patients.
“I was in the urgent area and so we would work on people and stabilize them and whether they went upstairs or to surgery. It seemed like another cart would come in and it was so busy for several hours that I recall,” said Closter.
So consumed by their emergency response, it wasn’t until much later that the trio truly understood the magnitude of the events still remembered 30 years later.
“We didn’t know the magnitude of the crash until we had seen it long after that shift had ended and seen the cartwheeling of the plan and the fireball and that we had had victims survive that,” said Coy.
Though 112 people perished, 184 survived. To this day the trio says none of the 296 have been forgotten.
“Tell those families and the ones that survived and the ones that did not we have never forgotten,” said Coy.
To this day, so many still taking pride in how Siouxland came together and responded quickly to save lives.