Stranded 9/11 pi­lot tours Lewis­porte

Bass the ba­sis for char­ac­ter in Broad­way hit ‘Come From Away’

Advertiser (Grand Falls) - - Editorial - BY PA­TRICK MUR­PHY

With the award-win­ning pro­duc­tion of “Come From Away” still thrilling au­di­ences on Broad­way, one of the story’s cen­tral fig­ures con­tin­ues her dis­cov­ery of New­found­land.

Bev­er­ley Bass was one of 38 air­line cap­tains forced to reroute to Gan­der on Sept. 11, 2001, af­ter the clo­sure of U.S. airspace fol­low­ing the 9/11 ter­ror at­tacks on New York and Wash­ing­ton.

Her ex­pe­ri­ences in the days that fol­lowed are chron­i­cled in the pro­duc­tion of “Come From Away.” Jean Corella por­trays Bass in the play and was nom­i­nated for a Tony Award for the role.

Bass says she has seen the pro­duc­tion 75 times thus far and re­turned to New­found­land four times since 2001, say­ing she is still fas­ci­nated by the story.

Bass came from away again this sum­mer to take a tour of com­mu­ni­ties in cen­tral New­found­land and meet some of the peo­ple who helped host more than 8000 stranded pas­sen­gers.

As much as Bass ex­pe­ri­enced in the days af­ter 9/11, the beauty lies in the ex­pe­ri­ences of oth­ers she said.

This visit, Bass brought her fam­ily along to share in the New­found­land ex­pe­ri­ence.

See STRANDED on Page B4 “That’s what makes the story of ‘Come From Away’ so great,” said Tom Staw­icki, who ac­com­pa­nied Bass on her trip. “When you see the show in New York, ev­ery­body walks out of the theatre with a good feel­ing in their heart, be­cause of that gen­eros­ity, that kind­ness, that was so preva­lent here.”

Bass and com­pany spent four days tour­ing the var­i­ous com­mu­ni­ties that as­sisted with stranded pas­sen­gers last week. Al­though the group couldn’t visit ev­ery com­mu­nity that par­tic­i­pated, they had an ex­ten­sive tour planned. In each com­mu­nity they met with rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the town and re­viewed their role in the event.

The tour be­gan July 24 in Ap­ple­ton with a stop at the town hall, and then con­tin­ued on to Lewis­porte to meet with Mayor Brian Sce­viour to dis­cuss the lo­gis­tics of host­ing and car­ing for so many un­ex­pected guests.

“When ev­ery­body is help­ing to­gether, you can do it,” said Sce­viour. “That is one thing I’ve got to say, is co­op­er­a­tion was re­ceived from any­one you spoke to, it was no prob­lem what­so­ever, you got as­sis­tance.”

Gan­der air traf­fic con­troller Pat Woodford be­friended Bass dur­ing her time in Gan­der in 2001 and ar­ranged the com­mu­nity tour. Woodford says the tour was to hon­our the ef­forts of com­mu­nity mem­bers, and to pro­vide some per­son­al­ized recog­ni­tion for the ef­forts.

“She con­tacted me and asked me to plan some stuff and take them around the area…,” said Woodford. “A lot of pas­sen­gers stayed here, and it’s nice to get a bit of recog­ni­tion from some­body that is pretty of­fi­cial.”

The tour con­tin­ued July 25 with a visit to the Gan­der Arts and Cul­ture Cen­tre. Then July 26 the group met with Gambo Mayor Peter Lush at the Small­wood In­ter­pre­ta­tion Cen­tre. A re­cep­tion fol­lowed at the Gan­der Le­gion.

The tour wrapped up July 27 with a visit to the Gan­der Avi­a­tion Mu­seum, and a trip to Sal­vage for a boat tour.

“We think this place is adorable,” said Bass.


Left to right: Tom Staw­icki, Bev­er­ley Bass, Lewis­porte Mayor Brian Sce­viour, Lewis­porte Coun­cil­lor Ed Vatcher, Tay­lor Staw­icki, Paige Staw­icki and Blake Rogers.


For­mer Amer­i­can Air­lines pi­lot Bev­er­ley Bass vis­its Lewis­porte for the first time. Bass is one of 38 pilots who were forced to land at Gan­der In­ter­na­tional Air­port when U.S. airspace was closed on Sept. 11, 2001.

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