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Sat, Jan 03, 2004

Al Haynes: Back To The Well

UAL 232 Hero Tries To Save Another Life -- His Daughter's

Al Haynes is something of a god to a lot of pilots -- commercial, charter and GA. He's the man who wouldn't quit, who flew right up to the edge of the envelope, then over.

Not that Haynes wanted to. It was probably the last thing on his mind when he took off aboard United Flight 232 on July 19, 1989.

Shortly after an engine malfunction severed the hydraulic lines on Haynes' DC-10, he could have given up. He didn't. Only able to make left turns, and sloppy ones at that, Haynes and his crew did the impossible, guiding the crippled jetliner to the airport in Sioux City (IA). The landing wasn't pretty -- 112 people were killed in a ball of fire. But many more were saved, thanks to Haynes determination and resourcefulness.

Now Haynes, who is 72, is fighting to save another life. His daughter's.

"I wouldn't say it's worse," the retired pilot says. "It's very bad, of course, and it makes you think a lot."

Laurie Haynes Arguillo, 39, has something called aplastic anemia. In short, her bone marrow doesn't produce enough blood cells -- red or white -- for her to survive. She needs a marrow transplant.

You'd think Haynes' had already seen enough tragedy to last a lifetime. But no. His wife died three years ago. One of his three children, a son, died in a motorcycle wreck seven years ago. And yet, the man who struggled mightily to save the lives of 296 people aboard Flight 232 that day over Iowa continues struggling today, hoping to get Laurie the transplant she needs to survive.

"To say it's worse than what happened before, it's my family, it's my daughter, and, of course, it's very close," Haynes says. "I still feel badly about what happened in '89. We did all we could. We just couldn't do enough. We hope this isn't the case here. We hope we can do enough here to do more good."

Indeed, a donor has been found, someone whose own bone marrow can be tapped to save Laurie's life. But the operation and after-care will cost $300,000. Sure, Haynes has been on the speaking circuit since 1989, but has always donated his fees to charity, never keeping a dime.

"I do the talks because I feel I have to. You have to talk. You've got to talk about what's wrong, what's happening. ... The more you talk about it, the more you can accept what happened. It's the same with my daughter. She's got the same feeling I do. We're going to face it. If we can fix it, fine. If not, that's just the way it goes."

Already, the fundraising effort has netted $60,000 in just three weeks. But that's just a fraction of what's needed. If you can help, send a check to:

NFT for Laurie Arguello
P.O. Box 7781
Covington, WA 98042

FMI: www.transplants.org

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