“The mid-air collision took place as the two heart-forming groups passed each other and the heart-piercing aircraft hit them. The piercing aircraft crashed onto the runway and consequently both the fuselage and resulting fireball of aviation fuel tumbled into the spectator area, hitting the crowd and coming to rest against a refrigerated trailer being used to dispense ice cream to the various vendor booths in the area.
At the same time, one of the damaged aircraft from the heart-forming group crashed into the emergency medical evacuation UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter, injuring the helicopter’s pilot, Captain Kim Strader. He died 20 days later, on Saturday, 17 September 1988, at Brooke Army Medical Center in Texas from burns he suffered in the accident.
The pilot of the aircraft that hit the helicopter ejected, but was killed as he hit the runway before his parachute opened. The third aircraft disintegrated in the collision and parts of it were strewn along the runway.” — wikipedia
Where: U.S. Air Force Base in Ramstein, Germany
When: Sunday — August 28, 1988
Other Details: [PDF link below]
♦ 70 fatalities
- 67 spectators
- 3 pilots
- 346 spectators sustained serious injuries
♦ Pilot Mario Naldini died after ejecting from his aircraft because there was not enough altitude to allow his parachute to properly deploy by the time he hit the ground.
♦ There were between 300,000 to 350,000 spectators.
♦ No other air show in the world draws such a crowd– to this day.
♦ The air show features “international aerobatic teams from all over Europe and the USA showed their skills for several hours.”
♦ It is said that “the Italian Air Force team was (and still is) one of the best in the world. It is the only team that flies its displays with ten aircraft.”
♦ The maneuver which resulted in the accident was the Pierced Heart.”
“At 15:40 the formation lifted off and commenced their display. The grand final was the “pierced heart”-maneuver.” . . . . In this maneuver, the formation of ten aircraft climbs in front of the audience and then divides into two sub-formations of five (to the left) and four aircraft (to the right) whose trajectories and the use of display-smoke draw a vertical heart from the center above (heart curve almost symmetrical, but spatial offset) parallel to the public. Exactly centered under the dissolving-point at the “heart point” at the same altitude (about 75 to 90 meters) the two sub-formations cross each other in an encountering maneuver. The solo-display aircraft retains its trajectory and closes the loop, by piercing the heart of the two sub-formations like an arrow, obliquely upwards and towards the public. The solo pilot should fly over the other two sub-formations with a short time delay of about three to four seconds.”
♦ This airshow maneuver was questioned and even criticized “because of the high risk potential.” Nevertheless, the concerns went unheeded, and the accident changed many minds!
♦ “Air show visitor Johannes Schank, a former firefighter, who later helped to care for injured people, had a similar experience. “It was clear to me that it had to smash right now,” were his thoughts as he saw Nutarelli’s solo-aircraft flying towards the crossing point. However, the majority of the more than 300,000 people on the huge airfield area had no idea of the tragedy that would break over them in a matter of seconds.
♦ 7 aircraft landed safely
♦ “When I am flying, I feel free like a bird. We are going to the limits but I don’t think I am doing something dangerous”
— Pilot Ivo Nutarelli, one of the killed pilots
♦ “To fly with the Frecce Tricolori is an adventure every day.”
— Mario Naldini, two months before his death
Testimony of a Survivor: Roland Fuchs — 65 percent of his body had third-degree burns, and he was given little chance of survival (Link to his full story ).
“I myself had absolutely no affiliation with air shows nor to Ramstein. We had planned to go there the year before, but then missed the date. In 1988, by coincidence, we read in a newspaper the advertisement of a regional bus company offering a day trip. We kept the date in mind and then drove there on the 28th ourselves. We were a young family back then. Our Nadine was born on August 12, 1983, I had then just turned 18, Carmen was 16. Parts of our own family did not support us and even mentioned that we should abort the baby. But we deliberately opted to have our sunshine. Those were difficult times, but also the most beautiful I was able to experience, even when the money was tight, so that we could not afford it to go on holidays. During summer there were dredging lakes, a folk festival and then just this air show, which offered to experience something different and to get a taste of America. On this 28th of August 1988 it could have also been an exhibition about agricultural machinery or US-Cars. We here in Baden Württemberg had no relation to Ramstein. The jet fighters thundered dozens of times each day across the country. I also had to look on the map first to see how I would get there at all. . . . . “
“Roland Fuchs, his wife Carmen and their daughter Nadine were on the way back to their car again. “We took Nadine in the middle, so that we could not lose her in the midst of the crowds”, Fuchs reflects on the last few moments before the accident.”
“When the Italians flew their ‘pierced heart’ I just turned around, I still said to Carmen: ‘Look!’ But my wife did not even have the time to turn around completely. I saw fire and debris. It was only until one of the planes flew directly towards us that I realized the danger: That was not a show anymore! I shouted: ‘Run!’ – but Carmen only looked at me wide-eyed, as if to say, ‘there’s no time anymore’. She only brought a chopped ‘au’ over her lips, while she was struck by a large piece of debris on her head, which bent unnaturally forward. That was the last thing I saw of her. That could not be true! At the same moment I was also hit by a part and was thrown a few feet backwards by the blast. I fell with my face to the ground. While falling, I felt that my whole body was splashed wet. It was kerosene that ignited immediately. I was lying on the ground burning. When trying to stand up, I realized there was a large piece of metal on my lower body. One leg was free, with which I could push myself from under the debris away. The part itself did not move an inch, as it was too heavy and too large.”
In this chaos I was looking for my five-year-old daughter Nadine and found her burning on the ground. I tried desperately to stifle the flames. But I myself was badly injured, and my clothes were soaked in kerosene from the downed machine. With my bare hands, I barely had a chance against the flames on Nadine’s body. So it was only with great difficulty that I managed to staunch the flames, especially as my hands caught fire again and again. In between I kept looking for my wife Carmen. However, among the many burned, it was not possible to recognize her, because everything was black, so one could not even orient oneself on garments. I tried to focus on my little daughter, picking her up and hugging her because her clothes were still a bit on fire. She did not stop to scream. Suddenly, a few Americans came – I do not remember, whether soldiers or civilians – who held me, while one of them took my daughter and just walked away. I tried with all my strength to pull myself away, but the two who held on to me were stronger. The last vision I have of Nadine is of her arms, stretched out in my direction. I probably became unconscious then.”
“I fell with my face to the ground. While falling,
I felt that my whole body was splashed wet.
It was kerosene that ignited immediately.
I was lying on the ground burning.”
“Out of respect for the dead during this day, it is not possible for me[to visit the yearly air show]. Besides, I cannot admire something that took away my family from me.“
One of the questions those affected hear over and over again is: “It has been so many years now, why do people still have to talk about it and why do they keep revisiting the issue?” And then Roland Fuchs responds quietly and friendly: “Because even after so many years, my daughter Nadine and my wife Carmen have not come back to life.”
— Roland Fuchs — from death falling from the sky
. . . . .
Key Biblical Thoughts:
- mourning / funeral
- memorial stones
. . . . .
. . . . .
Sermonic Example: (For a salvation message at a Funeral) 
[Include whatever details you find useful]
Now listen to what Roland Fuchs says . . . .
Our memorial stone stands in an idyllic grove, just outside the gates of the Air Base. The planes taking off fly directly overhead. It may sound weird, but this is the place where I can remember my family best. My life changed so tragically here in Ramstein forever. There I saw my wife Carmen and our beloved daughter Nadine for the last time.
One of the questions those affected hear over and over again is: “It has been so many years now, why do people still have to talk about it and why do they keep revisiting the issue?” And then Roland Fuchs responds quietly and friendly:
“Because even after so many years, my daughter Nadine and my wife Carmen have not come back to life.”
We all know what he is saying. We can feel that pain as he reminds everyone of us that when a loved one dies, and in such a tragic manner, there is nothing — absolutely nothing that remove the pain of such a loss but their return to life!
How empty to live life with the thought that when someone dies, we will never again — never, never – never again have any opportunity for seeing the, talking to them, or being with them again — ever!
Their death is the end —
and our death is the end!
If this is all there is . . . . I understand Roland Fuchs
Unless, that is not true for all men.
Unless that need not be true for us!
Unless that pain is answered in the Kingdom of God and entry to that Kingdom is through new birth!
. . . . .
Other Information & Links:
PDF of “Death Falling From The Clear Blue Sky”
1. “Death Falling From The Clear Blue Sky” — “Thirty years ago, exactly at the minute when this article is being published, at 15:44, three aircraft of the Italian aerobatic team Frecce Tricolori collided with each other at the traditional air show at Ramstein Air Base.” — 2018
“Roland Fuchs’ daughter Nadine. . . . The five-year-old died in the hospital of Ludwigshafen on 9 September at 09:40, on the day on which her mother Carmen, who was struck dead by a wreckage piece, was buried. Nadine was buried on September 13, next to her mother. At that time, Roland Fuchs himself was still in a coma and was more dead than alive.”
2. Or another illustrative direction:
“Our memorial stone stands in an idyllic grove, just outside the gates of the Air Base. The planes taking off fly directly overhead. It may sound weird, but this is the place where I can remember my family best. My life changed so tragically here in Ramstein forever. There I saw my wife Carmen and our beloved daughter Nadine for the last time.. . . .Out of respect for the dead during this day, it is not possible for me[to visit the yearly air show]. Besides, I cannot admire something that took away my family from me.“
There are forces abroad today that are doing just that — they are taking your family away from you!
Some institutions and individuals are doing just that — they are taking your family away from you.
Not by a tragic air show disaster
♦♦♦♦♦. ♦♦♦♦♦ ♦♦♦♦♦