Family members gather to remember Flight 255 victims - FOX 29 News Philadelphia | WTXF-TV

Family members gather to remember Flight 255 victims

Posted: Updated:
Family members polish a monument by Detroit Metro Airport.  (Credit: WJBK | myFOXDetroit.com) Family members polish a monument by Detroit Metro Airport. (Credit: WJBK | myFOXDetroit.com)
ROMULUS, Mich. (WJBK) -

People from Michigan and all over the country were at the edge of Detroit Metro Airport Wednesday remembering loved ones lost on Flight 255, like 23-year-old U.S. Army Second Lieutenant Christine Hoffman.

"She was home for the weekend, a very short weekend," said sister Aimee Hoffman-Moore.

Christine was returning to her army job after a family visit in Erie, Pennsylvania.

"By the time we got home, sitting there watching the evening news, a strip came by.  Her plane crashed," said her father, Thomas Hoffman.

23-year-old Michael Zanger and 26-year-old Hollins Langton were engaged and planning a wedding in Monroe.

"It's an ongoing healing process that probably won't complete itself until we're with them," said brother Tony Zanger.

Family members of the victims were cleaning and polishing the monument, which was paid for by the families.  They will assemble for memorial service Thursday night at 8:46 p.m., the time of the crash.

"My grandfather was going to Arizona on business and his business partner was supposed to leave that night and they had to switch flights kind of last minute," said Leff Krappitz.

"If you sit there and you think about it, it makes you cry.  It makes you sad, but we go there for the camaraderie with other people and the support group, which has been very helpful," said Mary Ann Ratliff, who lost her daughter.

"I think it's a place where you feel their spirit.  This is my personal opinion that they're still there, but it's a place of peace.  But yet when you think about the tragedy, there's also chaos," said Susan Moy, who lost her sister.

Firefighter John Thede saw that chaos.  The 21-year-old responded as a Romulus firefighter.  He had been on the job for a year and a half.

"Victims, debris, spot fires, parts of the plane, maybe just a tire, a part of a wing.  Probably the most eerie thing to me is I could see maybe like a can of cola that was untouched.  It looked like you just pulled it off a shelf, and then you would see so much destruction on something else, and it was just hard to believe."

Now Lieutenant Thede with Romulus Fire, he helped rescue the crash's miracle child, four-year-old Cecelia Cichan.  The backboard she was placed on is displayed at Romulus Fire Station Four on Eureka Road.  Thede has stayed in contact with Cecelia, who is now 29.

"I was invited to her wedding in 2006, and we talk," he said.  "We talk sports.  She's happy.  She's married.  Successful college grad working. And she thinks about it all the time also.  To be four years old and to go through something like that, it's just got to be an experience I couldn't even fathom right now."

In all, 154 were killed on the flight and two on the ground.

  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • Community comes together to support slain Armada teen's family

    Community comes together to support slain Armada teen's family

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 11:55 PM EDT2014-07-31 03:55:10 GMT
    Nearly a week after 14-year-old April Millsap was found murdered in the small town of Armada, friends, family and even those who didn't know the young girl gather for music in the park - this time hoping for justice.They were there to help raise money to ease the burden on April's heartbroken mother."We're as well as can be expected," said aunt Sarah Lichtenfelt. "They are just grateful for all the prayers and support, that's all we ask is to keep praying for strength."In the middle of it all...
    Nearly a week after 14-year-old April Millsap was found murdered in the small town of Armada, friends, family and even those who didn't know the young girl gather for music in the park - this time hoping for justice.They were there to help raise money to ease the burden on April's heartbroken mother."We're as well as can be expected," said aunt Sarah Lichtenfelt. "They are just grateful for all the prayers and support, that's all we ask is to keep praying for strength."In the middle of it all...
  • Family asks for justice after mother of three found dead next to dumpster

    Family asks for justice after mother of three found dead next to dumpster

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 11:33 PM EDT2014-07-31 03:33:46 GMT
    When 32-year-old Katherine Gibson was a little girl, her loved ones thought, the "life" ahead of her would be long. But it wasn't."Me and my girlfriend dropped her off and she had just told us, she loved us," said Marvin Gibson, her cousin.That would be the last "I love you" that he would hear. because after Gibson's cousin dropped her off at Harper and Conner, near Bronco's Market. The day after, she was found dead. Gibson's lifeless body, discovered by a dumpster, beside the building."Layin...
    When 32-year-old Katherine Gibson was a little girl, her loved ones thought, the "life" ahead of her would be long. But it wasn't."Me and my girlfriend dropped her off and she had just told us, she loved us," said Marvin Gibson, her cousin.That would be the last "I love you" that he would hear. because after Gibson's cousin dropped her off at Harper and Conner, near Bronco's Market. The day after, she was found dead. Gibson's lifeless body, discovered by a dumpster, beside the building."Layin...
  • Detroit councilwoman dodges questions about Facebook photo

    Detroit councilwoman dodges questions about Facebook photo

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 11:27 PM EDT2014-07-31 03:27:05 GMT
    Councilwoman Mary Sheffield posted a photo with controversial figure Rayford Jackson, previously involved in the Monica Conyers scandal. Fox 2's M.L. Elrick wants to know why.
    Councilwoman Mary Sheffield posted a photo with controversial figure Rayford Jackson, previously involved in the Monica Conyers scandal. Fox 2's M.L. Elrick wants to know why.
  • Ron SavageRon SavageMore>>

  • Sunday's storm captured by Fox 2 viewers

    Sunday's storm captured by Fox 2 viewers

    Sunday, July 27 2014 11:48 PM EDT2014-07-28 03:48:38 GMT
    We have more video of the storm and storm damage from across southeast Michigan. It's Fox 2 viewer pics and video that you sent to us.
    We have more video of the storm and storm damage from across southeast Michigan. It's Fox 2 viewer pics and video that you sent to us.
  • Livonia man dies after 2 dogs attack him

    Livonia man dies after 2 dogs attack him

    Saturday, July 26 2014 9:48 PM EDT2014-07-27 01:48:03 GMT
    A 46-year-old Livonia man was killed Wednesday evening after he was attacked by two dogs while jogging in Metamora.
    A 46-year-old Livonia man was killed Wednesday evening after he was attacked by two dogs while jogging in Metamora.
  • FBI joins the search for Armada teen's killer

    FBI joins the search for Armada teen's killer

    Friday, July 25 2014 11:08 PM EDT2014-07-26 03:08:38 GMT
    The FBI has joined the investigation team searching for the killer of a 14-year-old Armada girl, April Millsap.
    The FBI has joined the investigation team searching for the killer of a 14-year-old Armada girl, April Millsap. Authorities also say they are now looking for a small motorcycle in addition to the gray, dented van seen in the area.
Powered by WorldNow

WTXF-TV
330 Market Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106-2796

Phone: (215) 925-2929
Fax: (215) 982-5494

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices