Stranded 9/11 pilot tours Lewisporte
Bass the basis for character in Broadway hit ‘Come From Away’
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.