DETROIT, Mich. (CBS DETROIT) – Many remember the tragic crash of Northwest Airlines flight 255 off of I-94.
Now after three decades, a local first responder is paying tribute to the victims and their families.
“Went out to the ambulance checked in with our dispatchers and they told us you’re responding to Metro Airport for an aircraft down. Which of course as a first responder is something that’s going to get your very immediate attention,” said Northwest Flight 255 First Responder Andy Graves.
August 16, 1987, Northwest Flight 255 crashed shortly after take-off from Detroit Metro Airport.
The devastation claimed the lives of six crew members and 148 passengers, along with two people on the ground.
“Walking around down Middlebelt road looking for anyone that we could potentially save and very quickly came to the realization that we were not going to be able to save anybody,” said Graves.
Although 156 people perished in the crash, Graves learned the next day, of a miracle.
“That was the first like a positive glimmer of hope after the traumatic night that wow somebody made it, what a miracle and just thank God,” said Graves.
Amid the carnage was 4-year-old Cecelia Cichan, the sole survivor of Northwest Flight 255. Deemed the miracle baby, Graves says this gave him hope, but for years he’s suffered from internal scars.
After dealing with this trauma for over 30 years, he’s finally found a way to help ease his pain, as well as pay tribute to those who lost their lives.
“This song is emotional and beautiful and powerful and it captures that night,” he said.
Graves along with singer Mindi Odom recorded a song in the summer of 2019, shortly after visiting the crash site memorial on Middlebelt off I-94 honoring those who died in the crash.
They said proceeds from the song will go to the salvation army, who has supported the victims’ families for decades during the annual day of remembrance.
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