A father received a Christmas present he will not soon forget Saturday when he learned his son, first identified as among the victims of the Pan Am crash in Scotland, is alive and well.
"I feel like a million pounds have been lifted off my shoulders," said John Wittman, of Okmulgee, Okla. "It just feels good."But he said he still grieves for the families who lost someone in Wednesday's crash over Lockerbie, Scotland. All 258 people aboard the Boeing 747 died and at least 10 people on the ground were missing. "I still feel something for the people who did lose their kids."
Wittman, who is retired from a glass company, said Pan Am notified him Thursday that his son, Master Sgt. David Lee O'Connor, stationed in West Germany, was on the ill-fated plane.
The information apparently came from a listing of "D. O'Connor," Wittman said. But the actual victim was Daniel E. O'Connor, 31, of Boston, who was a security agent for the State Department in Nicosia.
"Hell's not the word. If it hadn't been for prayer and the church I belong to here I couldn't have made it," said Wittman, whose son was renamed O'Connor when Wittman and his first wife separated.
"The other church members have done some hard praying. I feel so sorry for the other people. My heart goes out to them because I know what they are feeling."
Wittman said he talked to his son in Germany on Saturday and the relief was so great "my wife got to feeling better and started cooking Christmas dinner."
"We didn't even think we were going to have a Christmas, not knowing whether he was dead or alive," Wittman said. "I did believe he was dead, but I believe in prayers with all my heart and my church has been praying, too."