CLEVELAND, Ohio — Passengers on board Delta Flight 2219 Friday evening were unaware that their plane was carrying the body of a local hero.
Fox 8 News reporter Dave Nethers was one of the passengers who, before the departure from Atlanta — bound for Cleveland Hopkins International Airport — heard the pilot announce, “This is a very special flight.”
The pilot further explained that Staff Sgt. Michael Beecher, 33, of Akron, was taking his final flight. Nethers reports that a military officer escorting Sgt. Beecher’s body was introduced, and the plane erupted in applause. Several aboard also broke into prayer.
The military officer told Nethers that Beecher, a paratrooper assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division, died in a motorcycle accident in Troy, North Carolina, earlier this week.
Specific details about the accident were not immediately released.
Upon arrival in Cleveland, military honor guards lined the tarmac, saluting the plane as it taxied to the gate. A ceremony honoring Beecher then took place prior to his body being taken home to Akron.