Crash 'victim' is alive and well Fla. man believed killed in weekend ValuJet crash bought ticket for a friend

May 17, 1996|By FORT LAUDERDALE SUN-SENTINEL

MIAMI -- For days, many people thought Michael Howard was killed in the crash of ValuJet Flight 592.

But he is alive, and a friend is dead, his name absent from the official list of crash victims.

Howard used his identification to buy his friend, Sean Baker, a ticket on Flight 592 because his friend did not have his drivers license with him, Howard said late Wednesday.

When the plane crashed and the passenger list was released, it had Howard's name on the list, not Baker's.

Baker, 29, was a professional musician who lived in College Park, Ga.

On Saturday, he was headed back to Atlanta after a week of visiting his mother, Barbara Baker, who lives in Miami.

Howard, 38, an amateur musician and Baker's friend for more than 10 years, drove him to the airport.

When he heard about the crash, Howard went to Barbara Baker's home to deliver the news.

Then, Howard's phone kept ringing with calls from upset friends and relatives who thought he'd been killed.

"It's been hard," Howard said.

But what haunts Howard most are the memories of passengers' faces.

"I wished I could have told them not to get on that plane."

Pub Date: 5/17/96

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