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“It just wasn’t our time”

By Heather Hintze 1:15 PM December 1, 2013

Mountain Village woman was supposed to be on plane that crashed, killing four.

BETHEL – Freezing rain and low visibility canceled almost all flights from Bethel to surrounding villages on Saturday.
Passengers didn’t mind though, knowing the bad weather may be to blame for Friday night’s crash outside Saint Mary’s. The Bethel airport was busy with passengers going nowhere due to weather delays on Saturday.
Amid the noise, Lena Sheppard waited quietly for her flight to Mountain Village.
“We were supposed to leave at 11 but I haven’t been questioning them where our flight is. We’re not really in a rush,” Sheppard said.
It’s that attitude that may have saved her life. Sheppard and her seven-year-old daughter Tianeth were at the hospital in Bethel waiting for a prescription. Instead of rushing to catch their flight home, they decided to stay another night. The plane they were supposed to be on crashed, killing four people on board.
“I’m on the verge of tears all day. I keep looking at my daughter. I talked to my parents yesterday, my brother, my sister, they all said not to fly if the weather looks questionable,” Sheppard said.
Her sister’s boyfriend was one of the survivors. “How I found out is my sister called, and I was crying and shaken and in shock,” she said. “It was just sad. So sad.”
Sheppard knows how lucky she is to be here. She said she’ll wait as long as she has to to make sure her next trip home is as safe as can be.
“It just wasn’t our time,” she said. I try not to question and just be thankful. Thankful for my daughter, my parents, my family.”
Weather was so bad in surrounding villages, Era canceled almost all flights out of Bethel Saturday. A National Transportation Safety Board investigator was supposed to fly out with the Alaska State Troopers, and their flight was grounded as well.

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