Lucky Escapes

Sometimes something which looks very unfortunate and frustrating can actually be a blessing in disguise.

On 21 December 1988 Holly Johnson of Frankie Goes to Hollywood, had a meeting which not go as scheduled. Holly Johnson and his manager were scheduled to arrive in New York for final negotiations about his break with Frankie Goes to Hollywood. Whatever he was doing in London ran late, so when they left for Heathrow, they hit rush hour traffic. Johnson’s ticket was for Pan Am 103, but when they reached Heathrow, they had missed the flight by about ten or fifteen minutes.

Word has it that Johnson was very sullen on the way back from the airport.
When they finally reached his (or his manager’s) flat, he switched the TV
on. The manager went in the kitchen to get a glass of water. When his
manager returned, Johnson’s eyes were transfixed on the screen. There on
the screen, was the flaming wreckage of a small town in Scotland, Lockerbie, and the remnants of Pan Am Flight 103.The flight had just been brought down by Lybian terrorists.

On August 26, 1990, Stevie Ray Vaughan performed two shows with Eric Clapton at Alpine Valley Music Theatre in East Troy, Wisconsin. After the shows some of the musicians boarded four Chicago-bound helicopters, which were waiting on a nearby golf course. Vaughan, along with three members of Eric Clapton’s entourage (agent Bobby Brooks, bodyguard Nigel Browne, and assistant tour manager Colin Smythe), boarded the third of the four helicopters—a Bell 206B Jet Ranger—flying to Meigs Field.

In Clapton: The Autobiography, Clapton explains that, contrary to rumors, his seat was not given to Vaughan, but three members of Clapton’s entourage were on board with Vaughan. According to a witness, there was haze and fog with patches of low clouds. The helicopter took off at about 12:50 am (CDT)on August 27 and, despite the conditions, turned left towards a 150-foot ski hill adjacent to the golf course. It collided with the hill approximately fifty feet from the summit.

All on board, including the pilot, Jeff Brown, were killed instantly.According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, a veteran pilot for Alpine Valley suspected that Brown attempted to fly around the ski hill, but misjudged the location.The Civil Air Patrol was notified of the accident at 4:30 am, and located the crash site almost three hours later.

Although Clapton’s seat wasn’t given to Stevie Ray Vaughan. It is not that much of a stretch to believe that it easily could have been the case. It was a lucky escape for him either way, But he did lose several friends that day, including Stevie Ray Vaughan.

Clapton and Jimmie Vaughan were asked to identify the bodies. The Walworth County coroner conducted an autopsy and found that Vaughan suffered from multiple internal and skull injuries.Clapton issued a statement the next day, saying that the victims “were my companions, my associates and my friends. This is a tragic loss of some very special people. I will miss all of them very much.” A Coptic cross necklace, worn by Vaughan, was given to Jimmie Vaughan.

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