Boiseans remember the crash of Continental flight 1713
Flight 1713 Video by IdahoOnYourSide.comvideo
Twenty-five years ago Thursday, Continental flight 1713 took off in a snowstorm from Denver's Stapleton International Airport...destination boise. The flight never arrived.
Survivors, family members and friends of the victims were all left wondering why. For Mike Johnson, his memories of that day are full of what ifs and why nots.
Mike Johnson was on his way home from a business trip with two others when they landed in Denver for their connecting flight to Boise, but because of the bad weather united cancelled the flight and left all the passengers two options to get back to boise.
"I remember the agent saying ‘I can't get you three seats on Continental flight so we'll put you on Delta,’" said Johnson.
He wasn't too happy about it at the time because the Delta went through Salt Lake and he had a political function in Boise that night. And to make matters worse just when they thought they were ready to leave, "They announced the airport has been closed at the end of the runway."
It never dawned on him and the others it was flight 1713.
"When we were going down the concourse area, on the TV it said that continental flight to boise has crashed," said Johnson. "As I’ve often said, I was 10 feet away from getting on Continental."
By now, the airport was full of activity with airline officials trying to gather information and answer dozens of questions about what just happened. johnson called home only to hear the same questions coming from folks in boise, knowing it would be another day before he could talk to them face to face.
"The next morning the sun was shining, the storm was gone, and when we flew out you could see the wreckage of the plane between the two runways," he said. "Coming back the next morning on the United plane, there was one person for sure that had been on that Continental plane that crashed and was flying back already that morning."
Ready to get home. Ready to get on with life.
"Life is short sometimes and you could be here,” said Johnson, “and then you could be gone."
The official cause of the accident was failure to de-ice a second time after a delay before takeoff.