Delta Flight 191: Plane crash survivor speaks 32 years later

Delta Flight 191: 32 years later

DALLAS - For 30 years, Richard Laver, 44, avoided Dallas. "It was the one place in the world that I would never come," Laver said.

Laver lives in California, but his history with Texas dates back to August 2, 1985, exactly 32 years ago. Laver was 12 years old flying with his dad from Florida to Dallas on Delta flight 191.

On final approach, a microburst slammed the aircraft into the ground, more than a mile from the end of the runway.

"The only thing I remember to this day is the violence, the impact, my father covered my body, and I could hear grown people screaming," Laver said.

The crash killed 136 passengers and crew members, including Lavar's father who was killed. Richard Laver was one of only 29 passengers on the plane who survived.

"When you survive something as violent as I did with people all around me, you wonder what your purpose is your whole life," Laver said.

Laver would find his purpose 21 years later when his daughter born. Kate has cerebral palsy and in 2011 had trouble eating solid food. That inspired Laver to create a supplement he now sells to medical suppliers and grocery stores across the country including right here in Dallas.

"My survival was at stake. I lost my father. Dallas lost a lot of people on that plane, but if I lost my little girl that I love so much, I just inherently knew that I had to do it," Laver said. 

It's no coincidence that business brings Laver to Dallas the day of the accident. He says he plans to honor the anniversary in Texas every year, something he avoided doing for 30 years.

At the Dallas/Fort Worth International airport, he stood near the memorial commemorating the day he lost his father and nearly died.

"And I turned and walked away, and my wife couldn't believe it, it had no hold on me anymore. It was anti-climatic. I beat it. I'm here, I'm alright, and I have a job to do, I have people to help," Lavar said.

People to help, including his own little girl, who like her dad, is a survivor. 

© 2017 WFAA-TV


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