Families, officials remember Flight 5191 crash on 10th anniversary

By Paige Hansen

The families of those who were aboard Comair Flight 5191 gathered on Aug. 27 to remember their deceased loved ones as it approached the 10th anniversary of the fatal crash.

Comair Flight 5191 was taking off from the Blue Grass Airport around 6 a.m. on Aug. 27, 2006 and crashed because the plane was on a runway that was too short. A previous Kentucky Kernel article said the plane broke through the airport’s security fence. 

Three victims in the crash had ties to UK, a previous Kernel article said. One was an administrator, another was a student at the time of the crash and the last was a former UK student. 

Saturday’s memorial ceremony was held at the UK Arboretum to remember the 49 lives lost. 50 passengers and crew members were on aboard. During the ceremony, they released doves to symbolize the victims flying towards the sky.

The arboretum was the same place the families gathered together for the 5th anniversary when a statue of 49 birds was revealed and placed at the Arboretum.  

Amongst other volunteers at the ceremony, the Red Cross has been lending a helping hand ever since the crash, and the support was no less ten years later on Saturday. Red Cross volunteers handed out programs, water and tissues to people as they arrived to the service.  

Deborah Hersman, former chairperson of the National Transportation Safety Board, spoke at the ceremony.

“Just like today, in Lexington’s darkest hours the best and most beautiful traits of the community are felt,” Hersman said. “When 50 people felt tragedy on that quiet Sunday morning, thousands of people started to support, to pray and to begin walking that long road of grief. It seemed the entire community was in pain and this simple realization strengthened my faith in humanity.”

The memorial ceremony was not just to remember that tragic day. For some it gave a chance for the victims families to reconnect with other families that are dealing with the same thing. Matthew Snoddy, who had a part in organizing the event, as his father, Tim Snoddy, died aboard 5191. Seeing everyone come out to support one another is what Matthew Snoddy was hoping to get out of the ceremony.

“Seeing everybody come out means love and community,” Matthew Snoddy said. “This is a big reunion, people who got to know each other through awful and terrible circumstances. It’s not just the family members, it’s the police and the firemen and the people who worked at the airport. Being able to see all these people again and see them under much more pleasant circumstances and hug and talk and just visit with one another- that’s what it’s really about.”

Some high ranking officials made an appearance to support the families such as Congressman Andy Barr, Lexington Mayor Jim Gray, and UK President Eli Capilouto. All three gave a speech about the families and the community of Lexington.