11:25am

Fri August 26, 2011
The Commonwealth

Families Reflect on Flight 5191

This weekend marks the five year anniversary of the crash of Comair Flight 5191. Forty-nine people were killed when the plane took off from the wrong runway at Lexington's Blue Grass airport.  Reporter Brenna Angel spoke with three victims' family members about how they continue to cope with the loss of loved ones and what a new memorial means to them.  "The first year was extremely difficult, particularly the weeks following the crash obviously."

"This year it just - it's that milestone, it's the we've made it this far, we've come this far."

"It is still very difficult. I don't think it will ever go away or ever change."

Lois Turner, Jason Bizzack, and Sue Byrd all lost people close to them in the tragic crash of Flight 5191. For Lois, it was her husband of nearly 30 years, Dr. Larry Turner, who was an associate Dean at the University of Kentucky. Jason lost his mom Carole. And Sue now carries on without her son Brian.

"He was the clown of our family, he always made us laugh. I think we miss that a lot."

Jason Bizzack was the first person in his family to hear about the accident. Not a day goes by that he isn't reminded of the crash or his mother, who had a deep love of animals.

"Yes I was angry, but I wasn't angry at a point that there wasn't a reason behind this. And the reasons that have come out since then have kind of played out into full effect. There was a reason and just gotta accept it for what it was,"says Bizzack.

A few months after the crash, Lois and Sue, along with several other families, joined the Flight 5191 Memorial Commission. Their goal was to establish a permanent monument to honor the lives of the victims. That work often put them in the spotlight, and in the days leading up to the anniversary, Lois was inundated with interview requests from the media.

"One thing that has been very comforting to me is that I still get to talk about Larry and share about him and his life. And so it's been a privilege for me to talk about him."

Jason, who typically avoids public ceremonies about the crash, has also found strength in talking about his mom. He stays busy coordinating the Carole P. Bizzack Memorial Foundation, which awards scholarships to college students pursuing a degree in animal science or veterinary medicine.

"It's one of the last things I have of my mother. And I get to work for something that I get to think of her every day in the manner of who she was as a person, what she did and what she loved. And to carry on her legacy like that, that's an honor."

Jason does plan to attend Saturday's ceremony at the UK Arboretum, where the sculpture of 49 birds flying toward heaven will be dedicated.

Each family was given a small canister to place small mementos, like a picture or a note, inside the birds. The families won't know which bird is theirs, but the couples that were on the plane will be represented by two birds with touching wings.

Lois Turner, Sue Byrd, and Jason Bizzack are just three of the hundreds of people who lost someone on Flight 5191. But they say the memorial goes beyond victims' friends, co-workers, and family members.

"I think as well as recognizing and honoring the 49 lives that were lost that day, it's also a tribute to this community and the tremendous support that they have given us for five years."

"I'm hoping when people go there that they don't view it as something sad, that they can remember how Lexington came together, and how close we were, and the love and support that we got not only from the people who knew us, but from the people who didn't know us."

"I'm speaking on behalf of my family when I say we can't thank you enough for how you all have treated us and pulled together, for not only us, for the other families as well."

The memorial will begin at 10 o'clock Saturday morning at the arboretum in Lexington.