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Friends remember Captain Al Haynes as humble, caring hero

SIOUX CITY (KTIV) – United Airlines Flight 232 Captain Al Haynes is being remembered in many communities on Monday.

On Sunday Haynes passed away at the age of 87 in a Seattle hospital. He left a lasting impact on both the lives of those he helped save and on his crew when Flight 232 crash-landed in Sioux City 30 years ago.

“Al was known by his family as a father and a husband,” said Gary Brown, Woodbury County Emergency Services Director. “He was known by his community as a real giving person. He was known by his crew on United as their hero.”

A gentleman, a caring guy, a hero. Those are just a few of the words people use to describe Haynes.

“Al was very humble captain,” Brown said. “He was a very humble individual. He loved his family. He loved his community. He loved his job. The United Flight 232 crew became a family of his.”

That second family remained close. The crew getting together for lunches, trips to Sioux City, and once a year remembering the anniversary of Flight 232.

“He stayed close to the whole crew for all 30 years,” said Bill Record, the co-pilot for Haynes on United Flight 232.

“We’re all one big family,” said Faith Record, one of Haynes’ friends. “He lived his whole life for others in kind of a behind the scenes without his name on it kind of way.”

Haynes’ passion soon became traveling the world, sharing the stories and lessons learned from Flight 232.

“The 112 that died, there needed to be something good that came out of this tragedy and those people never left Al’s heart,” Brown said. “He spoke of them often and he wished he could have done more. He wished more people would have survived or all the people would have survived on that crash.”

One of the things that always stands out in Brown’s mind was how calm Haynes was coming into the Sioux Gateway Airport on July 19, 1989.

“He kept calm,” Brown said. “That calmness translated into the crew being able to work together and come up to the best solutions to the problem.”

Now, as Haynes’ friends and family look to a world without him, they say they will honor him, the way he honored so many others.

“He never lost the desire to make the world a better place,” Brown said. “He will forever be missed by all of us.”

“We will miss him,” Bill Record said. “In fact, a part of our world is missing for the whole crew. I think I can speak for the whole crew in saying, while he is gone he will always be our captain.”

A wonderful example of what it means to be a father, a husband, a friend, and a hero to so many.

Haynes died at the age of 87.

Funeral services are pending.

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Michaela Feldmann

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