SANTA BARBARA (CBSLA.com) — A Santa Barbara man who survived the 1985 Delta Flight 191 crash at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport has opened up about his experience in the wake of the accident in San Francisco.
On Aug. 2, 1985, Richard Laver was 12 years old when his flight crashed in a thunderstorm during its approach to Dallas/Fort Worth.
“I still live with nightmares. My wife still has to wake me up in the middle of the night,” he said.
Laver wasn’t wearing a seatbelt and was thrown about 100 yards from the wreckage.
“That’s what saved my life. Everyone died that had their seatbelts on in the explosion, and I had mine off, and I flew out of the plane,” he said.
Laver was found in a mud puddle, which cushioned his fall. His father, Ian, who was sitting in the next seat, died. Ian Laver was the first cousin of tennis legend Rod Laver.
Richard Laver tried to go pro in the family business, but couldn’t compete on the tour because he developed a fear of flying.
Three years ago, Laver launched a new company that makes meal replacement shakes, which was inspired by his daughter, Kate, who’s battling cerebral palsy.
Kate also helped him get over something he’d been battling for a very long time.
“I kinda gave up my fear for flying. I literally fly every week and I have no trepidations,” he said.
As a businessman, Laver advised the families of Asiana Airlines Flight 214 to get a good lawyer.
“It is them against the airlines. I’ll tell you that right now. They will do anything to preserve capital. Of course, it’s business,” said Laver.