Remembering United 232: The Passengers


United Flight 232 was carrying 285 passengers plus 11 crew members when it crashed at Sioux Gateway Airport. 175 passengers and 10 crew members survived the crash. Today as we remember the tragedy that occurred 20 years ago, we’ll remember the passengers of United 232.

  • Spencer Bailey – Subject of a famous photograph showing Lt. Colonel Dennis Nielsen carrying the three-year-old survivor to safety. Spencer’s brother also survived the crash, but their mother did not. A statue in part of Sioux City’s riverfront development is based on the picture.
  • Jerry Schemmel – Radio announcer for the Denver Nuggets. Schemmel later wrote a book about United Airlines Flight 232 titled Chosen to Live, and was credited with saving the life of a child in the crash.
  • Michael R. Matz – Trainer of the 2006 Kentucky Derby favorite and winner, Barbaro. Also credited with saving the lives of four children in the crash, three of whom were in the same family.
  • Dennis E. Fitch – A safety consultant to NASA as a member of the Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel. Also a DC-10 pilot and instructor, he helped Captain Al Haynes fly United Airlines Flight 232.
  • Jan Brown Lohr – United 232’s Senior Flight Attendant. Lohr has t lobbied in Washington D.C. to promote the safety of children on all civilian aircraft and airlines, asking that federal regulations require all children to have a seatbelt on every flight.

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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