Plane Crash Selfie Goes Viral

Ralphie Aversa
Plane Crash Selfie Goes Viral

The aborted takeoff of a flight heading from Philadelphia to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., is just the latest example of how social media is shaping the way that news breaks.

A tweet that read "so my plane just crashed ..." — accompanied by a picture of the scene — is how this story began online. The photo was taken by Hannah Udren, 18, who goes by "skip" on Twitter. She followed the first tweet with a "selfie" that perfectly frames her and the downed jet. The text with the photo she took of herself simply says, "so yup."

About 4,000 retweets later, a debate is growing about the intersection between social networks, civilians, and journalists. For her part, "skip" notes that she posted the photo "for my friends and family." She simply wanted to show them that she was OK.

In addition to the tweet, social media also contributed to ABC News coverage of the crash. The network obtained footage from the crash site via Facebook. Another passenger, Dennis Fee, filmed a clip from the ground of people evacuating the plane. In all, ABC News posted three stills or video clips that came from first-person, online accounts of the crash.

A spokesman for US Airways said that the flight's aborted takeoff was caused by a blown tire. There were no serious injuries as a result of the accident; however, two women were taken to a nearby hospital to be treated for a minor injury and illness. Incoming and outgoing flights were temporarily halted at Philadelphia International Airport following the incident.

US Airways rescheduled the flight, and some passengers who were on Flight 1702 landed in South Florida on Friday morning.