"He was pleading, like, I don’t know why I’m here and you’re not the answer but someone should help me."
The filmmaker Paul Taublieb, two-time Emmy winner, inventor of X Games etc, has told a harrowing story of his flight from Manila to Los Angeles yesterday.
Flight PR112 split Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International airport for its thirteen-hour trans-Pacific flight to LA at eleven am on Monday morn.
Taublieb, returning from an epic two-week surf trip to the Telo Islands just south of Nias there, was seated next to a man whose life force, he says, “was flickering.”
“This guy looks at me with these plaintive eyes. And that look freaked me out. Y’know, I spent a year in Africa, crossed the Sahara Desert, I’ve done a lot of travelling so I’m experienced and his look struck me in some caveman way, like, get away from this dude.”
Figuring he needed medical help urgently, and also not wanting to sit next to this coughing, gravely ill man, Taublieb approached the flight attendants who eventually checked his temperature.
In the middle of the night, Taublieb says he was in the classic Ambient haze when he heard the call for a doctor.
When the flight landed, passengers were told to wait while the body was removed.
The man’s look has haunted the filmmaker since.
“He was pleading, like, I don’t know why I’m here and you’re not the answer but someone should help me. There was no fight left. It was as if he’d given in to something, like one of those animals getting eaten by a lion. And, I had a visceral, instinctual reaction and that was, do not be near this guy. You could tell he had a sense of death. It was ominous. The fame of life was flickering and you could see it. And, I’m a liberal, I’m a compassionate person but there was nothing I could do. I just felt, don’t be here.”
Anyone else out there and seen death close?
Looked into a dying man’s eyes?