On June 8, 92-year-old Balazs Orban crash-landed his plane in the middle of the Tidewater Preserve neighborhood, narrowly missing neighbors, children, construction workers and houses.
How have Orban and his family reacted to the crash and its near tragic consequences? With laughter.
His grandson literally could not stop laughing when talking on TV about the crash. Orban himself "chuckled' when describing the crash.
The weather that day at the time of the crash was perfect, no wind, rain, or weather change. Yet the crash occurred.
Orban still has no idea why the crash happened. No one, the FAA, Airport Manatee, Orban's family, and Orban himself, seems particularly concerned about determining how it can be avoided and the steps needed to be taken to prevent it from happening again.
I am a resident of Tidewater Preserve. It is a wonderful neighborhood full of nice families, children, dedicated construction workers, and homes that were built with love and care.
Orban was fortunate -- some might say downright lucky -- to not have crashed into any or all of the above. We fail to see the humor in this near miss of our people and homes.
Orban is a decorated and respected World War II veteran and hero who has been flying for over 70 years. His legacy is one deserving of great pride and gratitude from all of us. Let's hope this legacy is not marred by a repeat crash.
Next time that empty lot will have a home on it, full of families and children. There will be no empty space to land, and the consequences could be tragic. The time to take steps to prevent a tragedy is now, before it occurs.