Remembering United 232: Siouxland’s Response


This past fall I took History of American Journalism, and in this class we had to write a paper on our home town paper’s coverage of an event. I chose the United Flight 232 crash because I thought I had such a personal connection to the accident. Both my grandpa, now retired, and dad were firefighters that responded to the scene, and my mom was a nurse at the burn unit. After doing my research and finishing the paper, I realized that just about everyone in Sioux City can claim a personal connection to the accident. Whether you were part of a rescue crew at the scene, someone that rolled up your sleeve to donate blood, opened your dorm room to survivors, or offered your thoughts and prayers, it’s clear that there was an overwhelming response from Siouxland. Today we’re looking at how Siouxlanders gave of themselves to make a difference during this tragedy.

  • Briar Cliff didn’t hesitate to take in survivors with injuries that didn’t require hospitalization. Local businesses began bringing food and beverages to Briar Cliff, bedding and towels were offered, transportation for family members of survivors was arranged, counselors from other Siouxland schools came to be with survivors, and college students and faculty were directing people around campus.
  • Siouxland was prepared. Just 2 years prior to the crash, emergency respondents from Siouxland staged an exercise in handling a plane crash emergency. When Sioux City got the call that the aircraft was headed their way, emergency crews sprang into action. Plans were followed, and volunteers filled in where needed. Emergency personnel from surrounding communities started coming to Sioux City even before the plane went down, and nurses went to hospitals without being called.
  • Siouxlanders wanted to help. One way this was shown was through the long lines surround the blood bank. People waited for hours to donate blood.

Throughout this week the Chamber blog will remember the crew, passengers, and community response to this tragedy that occurred 20 years ago. You’re invited to share your own memories. Directly comment on any post, or send your story to

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