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Barry Sonnenfeld - plane crash

Barry Sonnenfeld: "Having known most of my life that I was destined to die in a plane crash (or of testicular cancer), I found myself [in 1999] the lone passenger on a Gulfstream II corporate jet nose-diving toward Van Nuys airport. I crossed my arms, put my legs up against the seat in front of me, and thought, 'And now I die.'

"We were too high over the airport to land, but, God love her, the pilot tried anyway; our wheels touched the ground four-fifths of the way down the runway. To avoid hitting the brick wall we were barreling toward, the pilot had the surreal idea to aim at a field of parked airplanes. Every time we hit, crushed, and bounced over another Piper Cub or Cessna, I would think, 'And now we die.'

"We came to a metal-screeching stop on top of a Cessna that was spewing fuel into our engine. Calmly, but with a slight sardonic overtone, I pointed to the fuel fountaining into our engine and asked, 'Say, are we at all worried about that?' And then the pilot said the words you never want to hear from a pilot. She said, 'Oh, my God.' The crew ran past me toward the back of the plane. I calmly waited for instructions. Then I realized, I am alone on this plane. I walked toward the back of the aircraft, past broken china, bags of chips, cheddar popcorn, and high-end magazines. I looked past the opening where they load the luggage, past the 20 brave Van Nuys firemen screaming at me to jump, and watched my flight crew fleeing in the distance!"

[After racing from the plane, Barry called his wife from the tarmac. She laughed off the incident, and bought him a Breitling Emergency watch for his next birthday.]

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