A Fact-Check for the Four-Color World

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Guest Post: Very High Rollers

One of the biggest comic fans I know is Kurt Mitchell, aka Cei-U! to those on the CBR boards. So although what follows isn't actually about a comic book, it comes from a true comic guru. And in case you doubt Kurt's authority, he knows a thing or two about wheelchairs.

But here's a comic book connection anyway: Crossing Jordan regular Miguel Ferrer has played three significant DC characters onscreen. He was the voice of the Weather Wizard in the Superman: TAS episode with the Flash, and he also voiced Aquaman in that character's episode of Superman. (On Justice League, however, Aquaman's voice is provided by Scott Rummel.) Plus, in a role he might rather forget, he was the villainous 'Weather Man' in the live-action Justice League pilot.

So without further adieu, Cei-U!:


On an episode of Crossing Jordan from last season, a small airplane crashed when a bullet punctured the battery box on a passenger's motorized wheelchair, spilling its sulphuric acid contents. The acid combined with cleaning agents in the carpet to fill the plane with toxic fumes, killing everyone aboard.

This could never happen. The FAA requires that wheelchair batteries travel in the cargo hold boxed in special containers to prevent exactly the kind of accident depicted here.

Moreover, the passenger flew in his/her chair instead of transferring to a standard seat, the chair being clamped down as it would be on a bus. I've flown in jumbo jets and puddle hoppers alike and I've never seen such a thing. #1, airplane doorways are too narrow to admit even a manual wheelchair. #2, neither the passenger or the chair would be secured in place adequately in case of turbulence, etc. In fact, in the Jordan episode, the wheelchair user was thrown forward into the cockpit on impact because he/she wasn't wearing a seatbelt.

So basically the scriptwriters built their mystery around an event that simply would not occur on an American-based air carrier. Guess they figured nobody would notice.