Frozen Tears

"She died with frozen tears on her face"
“She died with frozen tears on her face”

Well this week Romanian journalists haven’t had to resort to stealing videos and photos because there’s been non-stop coverage of a domestic incident, the crash of a plane (link in English) in the Apuseni Mountains near Cluj.

This story is still ongoing and I’ve been closely monitoring the media but I’ve decided to hold off on a lengthy article because it seems like every hour there are new revelations about just how much this truly was a complete and utter clusterfuck.

A few things known so far:

1) The plane, carrying four doctors, two pilots and a student nurse, were on a government plane (belonging to the Interior Ministry) transporting organs from Bucharest for a transplant operation in Oradea.

2) The plane crashed in a remote mountainous area on the Cluj-Alba border in heavy fog a few minutes after 4:00 pm. Initially all the people on board were still alive after the crash.

3) The pilot died shortly (approximately 20 minutes) after the crash. One doctor, who was the least injured, heroically did his best to keep everyone else alive, all of whom were quite severely injured. The student nurse later died of hypothermia and four members of the team are in the hospital now.

4) Despite having (Romanian-made) software on board that could identify their location and an emergency transponder and the survivors making multiple phone calls to emergency services (112), it took more than six hours for rescuers to arrive.

5) In the end it was a handful of local folks who saved the day.

That’s the crux of it, although like I said, there are lots and lots of details as the media and everyone else begins to work on unraveling how this happened. Once we can get a handle on how this truly went down, I’ll be sure to publish a full report. If you’re bursting to tell me things that I didn’t mention, please understand that I’ve got 45 tabs bookmarked and about 20 news videos downloaded so I assure you I’m probably aware of what’s been reported.

However, one thing is immediately obvious, which is the Romanian system of governance and administration has once again failed its own people through a combination of stupidity, incompetence, poor organization and of course the requisite arrogance of never admitting wrongdoing or mistakes.

About the only “good” news to come out of this is that the Romanian public is angry enough that there might ultimately be some system-wide changes as a result.

The three local men who found the downed plane when the entirety of the Romanian government could not
The three local men who found the downed plane

11 thoughts on “Frozen Tears

  1. I know and have a little more insight into this story,firstly the pilot performed a near miracle of airmanship in getting the aircraft down without further loss of life,the fact that he died within 20 mins of the plane hitting is dreadful and regretable,but no rescue services actions (or lack of them) could have got to the location in that time regardless of how they were directed, controlled or wether the location was known or not.the plane went down in a remote area,difficult to access at any time let alone in thick fog and snow drifting,also heavily forested so helicopter evacuation also impossible,in these conditions to get to the crash site in 6 hours is an effort that any rescue service in the world would consider good,it seems to me that here in Romania if anything of this kind happens,the first reaction is to blame incompetence or corruption by the responsible authorities,as far as the rescue was concerned I really dont how they could have done any better or what it is they are supposed to have done wrong.


    1. They haven’t tried to exactly locate the plane (I.L.T. and transponder), they relied only on a cellphone’s signal. They sent some people to random cover a 100 sq. km area. There was a speologist that calculated the area that the aircraft should be and he contacted the authorities but the authorities didn’t even consider him and sent the people to the opposite direction because “they knew better”. Local people found out about the crash a few hours later. If the central or local authorities had warned the people earlier, the survivors would have been found in a maximum of 2 hours (still in daylight), not after 6 hours when it was dark already.


  2. There were 4 surgeons that where participating as volunteers in the transplant programme, with one medical( not nurse) student, volunteer as well. They were found by volunteer locals. And, guess what? The first medical help to arrive where 2 young women working as volunteer paramedics for SMURD ( a resident doctor and a medical student).

    To me it seems there are a lot of volunteers, unrelated, just happened to meet in this story. And at first glance it makes me think it is a good thing – people realise that someting needs to be done, and they do it, end of story.

    Last week I was having this conversation with my friend (her doughter just started school): she plans to start an NGO, where the parents of the children from the class can redirect the 2% of the tax, and than use the money to do things for the children-like organising events, facilitate acces to sports or other activities, etc. BUT NOT USE THE MONEY TO BUY DESKS OR PAINT THE CLASSROOM. Because that is the job of the school, and if the parents do it, than the school will get used to this and get lazy and will never do it.

    Sam, you were saing in a previous post about the nice decent people the romanians are as individuals, but snowdrops etc when it comes to authorities. Well, puting the 2 stories together, do you think that the incompetence of the authorities is enhanced by the good people that are doing more than their job, in order to patch a sistem that is not working, due to the incompetence of the authorities? Wich gives us a feed-positive loop….


  3. The pilot didn’t die shortly after plane crash. He lost his conscious about 1 to 2 hours(the other victims say) after the plane crash and doctor Vieru who performed the autopsy, says that it’s hard to indicate precisely, but most likely he died around 8PM, this means 4 hours after the plane crash. So he died shortly before the rescue team got there. We can’t tell if he would have died anyway, but because the rescuers got there 6-7 hours after the plane crash, we will never know.


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