The loss of the Air France Airbus over the Atlantic this week, and the discovery of wreckage confirming the loss of the flight, is a major air incident the likes of which we have not seen for many years.
When a plane goes down it understandably makes headlines as the loss is so big in one fell swoop. Paradoxically, the news coverage also illustrates just how safe air travel normally is. After all, more people are lost every day in road accidents than in even the biggest air disaster.
But for most of us an air tragedy is just another piece of bad news in a world of bad news, and an extra reason to feel a twinge of discomfort next time we board a plane. But for the relatives, friends and colleagues of those lost it is a desperately sad time made worse (and briefly better) by the uncertainty that their loss is absolute when there is little chance of recovering those on the plane.
But in a world of platitudes and trite statements it is heart warming to see an obviously heartfelt statement from a major company over the loss of a friend and colleague. And Mazda is the company mourning the loss of one of their own – Neil Warrior – who was on the Air France flight and was Director of Public Relations for Mazda. Their statement said:
Our entire company is shocked and saddened by this terrible news. It simply isn’t enough to say Neil will be sorely missed. This loss goes deeper than that, because someone like Neil cannot be replaced. He was a warm, kind and fun person who will never be forgotten by those who knew him. Our hearts go out to his father, sister and brother. We want them to know that it was a privilege to have had Neil as our colleague and friend.
And although these words will seem small comfort to Neil’s family they will, in time, come to cherish this statement as confirmation that Neil wasn’t just a special man to them, but to those who knew him beyond his family. And, speaking from personal experience, the fact he made such a mark on others in his life will be a big comfort.
Our condolences go Neil’s family, friends and colleagues.