Unbelievable, by Arne Kruithof
Chapter 1: Adventures in Europe
Like many young boys at sixteen, it was important to me to start making some money. After asking around I found DROST in Schoonhoven need help at their swine slaughterhouse.
As a child I always had great respect for animals. I would often go into meadows fishing, sometimes with my German Grandfather. He was not allowed to use live fish as bait when I was around.
Despite this intense love for animals I applied for and got the job at the slaughterhouse. My job was to keep the slaughterhouse clean. A large number of employees who worked in the slaughterhouse had been in prison. Every now and then you would hear that two workers attacked each other with knives. Fortunately I never witnessed any of these occurrences.
At the end of work I would still smell of blood and dead meat. I worked there for only three months. Sometimes even now when I eat meat I still hear the screaming of the pigs and see the fear in their eyes.
My next job was delivering newspapers.
I made a decision not to return to school. My mother started crying and tried everything to change my mind. My father gave me two weeks to vacate the family house.
A few weeks later I moved in with an old classmate Mark, who lived in Rotterdam. Together we decided to save up money and leave Holland. We worked during the day and visited Spangen Gym in the evening, An old friend Berry De May had introduced us to body building. In 1982 Berry became European bodybuilding champion.
The day came when we were to leave Holland. We crammed supplies into out backpacks and my mother drove us to Maas Boulevard, the freeway coming out of Rotterdam, and dropped us off at the side of the road. From cardboard boxes we had made signs on which we painted our destinations. First was Paris.
After half an hour we hitchhiked a ride to Antwerp. We stayed in a youth hostel and the next morning hitchhiked a ride to the French border. However this time nobody stopped for eight hours except the police, who kept telling us it was illegal to hitchhike. We would ignore them. After a while they told us to get in. They just drove down the road to the next toll booth at dropped us off. That evening we arrived in Paris. We slept in a little park and fantasised about adventures to come.
The next morning we got up and walked to Peripherique ring road and held up a sign for Bordeaux. There were many other hitchhikers so we decided to leave. Eventually we bough train tickets to Etampes a little town south of Paris and hitchhiked from there to Bordeaux. We were dropped by the highway and slept in a vineyard.
The next morning we went to a youth hostel and got to know that several people were looking for a job at the vineyards. This seemed like a good idea. Mark bought a newspaper and saw that Chateau Figeac were looking for grape pickers. We travelled to Libourne and from there to the small but famous village of Saint-Emilion. As we walked through the Chateau and old man told us there were no jobs and to get off his property.
Outside we climbed onto a wall and ate bread, cheese and wine. Sometime late a young woman walked up and spoke fluent English. He name was Laure and she apologised for her fathers cold reception she assured us we now had job, but it was four weeks before the grapes were ready for picking so we took the train back to Bordeaux.
After a couple of days walking the city we decided to visit Arcachon. It was beautiful. We then took a ferry to Cap Ferret and set up a camp on the sand dunes. For the next three weeks we did nothing but naked bodysurfing. Soon it was time to return to the Chateau.
Upon returning we were offered a place to sleep. An Arab who played loud music lived next door. A group of 40 had also come to pick grapes. On the first day we met Sebastian and Paul. Paul was from England.
In the evening we were allowed to sit around the fire in the Chateau, there we met Laure's sisters Orthanse and Blondine.
After four weeks picking grapes the season came to an end. Paul told us in the autumn he would get a job picking apples in the orchards of Canterbury and said he would help us get jobs there. We travelled to Calais then Dover. The very next day we got jobs. We saved money by sleeping in a barn.
After a while we took the ferry back to France. Laure had invited us to visit her in paris but Mark hitchhiked to Bordeaux to see Laure's sister Blondine.
One evening Mark called me in Paris to tell me to come to Bordeaux as winter was coming. There I met Mark, Blondine and Orthanse. Their parents were on vacation and Mark had found their father's liquor cabinet.
Soon we hitchhiked to Perpignan and slept in a park.
During the day we frequently called our families.
We heard about a hippie community high in the Pyrenees so we went to check it out. We were put to work doing hard labor and the people there seemed unhappy. Soon it was time to move on. Mark teamed up with an American journalist called Jim whom we had met in Bordeaux. We went to Carcassone.
After a few days Mark left on his own and I was stuck with Jim. We were picked up by a woman who took us to her house and made dinner and introduced us to a very attractive young girl. After the meal the woman rolled a big joint and passed it around. Jim, stoned, got into bed with the girl. After several hours I woke up and looked over at the girl. We started kissing and got naked.
As winter arrived we found out that in Corsica people were needed to pick Clementines. As I hitchhiked there, a man in a large BMW picked me up. He told me his pants were itching and asked me to feel them. In my naiveté i did. He laid his hand on my leg. I got really fed up with these homosexual advances and ordered him to stop the car. Instead he drove to a small country road and stopped the car in thick fog. However, the man must have sensed he would have no chance against me if it came to a physical conflict so he opened the trunk and I grabbed my backpack. He sped away.
Less than 15 minutes later a Volkswagen microbus stopped to pick me up. Before we started we made coffee and smoked a joint.
After meeting Mark and Jim in Marseilles, we went to Corsica. It is the most beautiful spot on Earth I've ever seen.
We travelled to Moriani Plage and met Peter, a Scotsman, in a tavern. He lived in a hut with and Englishman and a Frenchman and offered us a roof over our heads. We lived there for months and smelt pretty bad. Sometimes we received visits from people like Mickey, a hippie who had few teeth due to extensive opium use in India. After dinner we would smoke hash and one-time at Christmas, LSD.
We started to get uncomfortable about the idea the mafia was everywhere on the island. One day we noticed a car full of bullets and saw blood and flesh on the dashboard. About this time I began feeling homesick. Mark started talking about going to North Africa.
We got jobs in a factory where they built crates used to transport Clementines. After work we would go to the bar often and this is where i encountered Emilia. Her parents came from Portugal but lived in Limoges, France. Emilia lived with her sister Rosa, 25 miles north of Moriani Plage, in Bastia.
We worked several months for a guy named Francis. He always took me on business trips and I got to meet his gangster buddies. Francis always carried a loaded gun in his car. It was clear to me he like young men just as much as young women. Francis became unfriendly after I told him if he touched me I would kick the crap out of him. He asked me if i wanted to leave the island alive.
We walked to Bastia in the dark. It took eight hours. We arrived at Rosa and Emilia's apartment at sunrise.
From Bastia we took the ferry to Nice and hitchhiked back to the Netherlands in three days. Not much had changed in our ten months of absence. Unfortunately Mark decided to stay with an uncle in Rotterdam so when i set out again a month later, i set out alone.
I returned to Emilia in Corsica. I got a job in a restaurant 25 miles south of Bastia as a waiter. At the beach i made a friend who owned a small surf shop. Sometime I would see my boss having sex in the bushes with one of the girls i worked with. After a few months i left and headed to Porto Vechhio. I found work at Canne a Sucre a large cocktail bar and ice cream salon.
After a few months the bartender took me to his house in the mountains and introduced me to several people who seemed to be stoned. He offered me drugs to inject but i refused. Now I understood why the amount i collected waiting tables never matched the cash register.
Another waiter offered me a job in Alsace in November in one of the wineries.
As summer ended I hitchhiked back to the Netherlands with Emilia. i worked for a short while in wood factory and bought a car. we drove to Alsace and hocked up with Thierry and picked grapes for the next two months, living in a tent. After the season was over I returned to the wood factory in the Netherlands and Emilia returned to Corsica by train.
I bought a used car with my dad, hooked up with two friends, Jan-Wilhelm and Edwin, and drove to Paris. I drove around looking for the apartment of an old friend who would come to the netherlands just to buy a kilo of hash. We found the apartment but he wasnt home so we slept in the car. Next morning we continued south.
Eventually we arrived on Corsica and drove to the old hut. Nobody was living there and it was very cold at night. The next day we went looking for Francis and found him. He offered us jobs.
Jan-Wilhelm had spent time in Lebanon where he served in the international peacekeeping force after israel invaded lebanon. Edwin was a big Dutch guy who could stand his ground.
Emilia didn't like me anymore and I got into a car accident. I returned to the Netherlands.
Woking again at the wood factory I planned to go to Portugal. To make money we started delivering fresh bread and pastries from Belgium to the Netherlands on Sundays, as most shops in the Netherlands closed on Sundays. Marco Remmelink was my business partner.
At the time transport of goods between Belgium and Holland required a mandatory declaration. We decided not to declare our products and managed to pass without any problems. We also had some problems with a religious sect that was against people working on Sundays. It was a forerunner of Staat Kundig Gereformeerd Party SGP.
Marco dropped out and I was left doing it on my own but it was very popular and soon I was delivering chocolate, apple pies, cherry cakes and anything else the baker offered.
In my younger years my father bought a Wayler windsurfer and taught the family to windsurf. My brother Joachim became a fanatic of this sport.
I wanted to go to Portugal and I purchased a Peugeot 104. One day my brother and I decided to take the car to Portugal. After several days travelling we reached Figuera Da Foz. After staying for three weeks and accompanied by old friends Marco and Edwin, we drove south, staying at Sesimbra, Lissabon and Sagres. After Sagres we drove to Lagos Algarve. There we met Frans an old companion and Mark, my best friend.
We would lay naked on the beach during the day and go downtown to cocktail bars to pick-up girls in the evening. Portugal is one of the most beautiful places on the earth but as Autumn was coming I had to return to Holland.
Mark had a house in Rotterdam. He decided he didn't want to live there anymore and offered it to me. I moved in. During afternoons and evenings I hung out at my buddy Marco's apartment. We spent our time experimenting with drugs. Marco had several marijuana plans on his balcony. I became very interested in this and decided to grown marijuana big time in the future.
My mother had a large garden she didn't use anymore. The soil contained Brandnetelgier, a yeast extract of nettle leaves. In no time I had hundreds of plants three feet tall. I also planted them in the garden of my house in Rotterdam. By late summer my plants were between six and nine feet tall. I rolled the first joint and the weed was so strong you had to sit down and wait for the effects to wear off before you could walk.
I was getting more and more visitors from foreign countries. They would sleep in my house and take a bag full of dutch weed away with them.
I decided to go to Kitzbuhel, Austria to find work. I wanted an evening job so i could ski during the day. I got a job in a hotel nightclub hanging coats. `when there was fresh snow, i would deb first in line to get to the ski summit and flirt wight he Swedish girls. My downhill improved.
A rock band appeared at the nightclub and the singer Maria was a Swedish goddess. She came to the coat room and introduced herself to me. From that moment we were in love. We skied together and one day found a hay barn and made love.
I returned to the Netherlands with plans to spend summer in Sweden with Maria. One day we were rolling a big joint in Marco's apartment and Marco and Edwin wanted to drive to Morocco to sell the used cars they had bought. Edwin didn't feel much like the long journey and I offered to go in his place.
We drove to Aljas Cheras with only one breakdown. Then got the ferry across the straights of Gibraltar to Ceuta. We picked up two German guys by the side of the road who wanted to go south. At the border checkpoint I became impatient and started taking pictures. Suddenly we were stormed by border police who demanded my camera. I struggled with them but eventually they took it. I told them they were a bunch of incompetants.
Eventually we crossed the border, stopped at a cafe and a Moroccan man put a large pier of hash on our table. It must have been 50 grams. I told the barman to stick it up his arse and ordered lemonade.
We drove to Rabat, a beautiful city. Morocco was not easy to get used to. The German guys became frustrated and took the bus back to Ceuta after a few days. The atmosphere was not pleasant and people often stopped us on the street asking for something. Women in burkas would surround cars stopped at red lights whining and begging. On every streetlight hung a picture of King Hassan. Hassan had a castle in every city and his wealth was protected by heavily armed militias.
Before we sold our cars we visited the Dutch embassy where we were introduced to one of the attaches. He tried to persuade us not to sell cars but our decision was made. Mark had met a young boy named Mohammed who could help us. The boy told us his father had recently been sentenced to 25 years prison for helping out in a coup d'etat.
Mohammed took us to meet Moisine and another man. Moisine complained about the price. Several days went by without anything then one morning the telephone rang. We had a deal, the exchange of both cars for cash. It was necessary to travel to Tangir and pay import tax on the cars. En route though Moisine stole the Mercedes after stopping and complaining about the engine. However he left a suitcase full of money. We went to Rabat police station to report the theft.
Inside the police station we found a man being beaten by the police. They ordered us to leave and remain in the waiting area. After a while the police told us they could not do anything for us. The next day we went to the Dutch embassy and met the same attache. We handed over the suitcase of cash to the embassy safe. We found out Moisine was the bodyguard of Chamonis. Chamonis was the man who had given Western Sahara to King Hassan.
During another meeting at the embassy we were asked for a large amount of cash to handle our case. The next day we brought a bag full of money to the embassy hoping this would expedite the release of the mercedes. The embassy warned us that someone might try to plant drugs in our hotel rooms.
Occasionally we would bring girls back to our hotel room. Once i was alone on the room with a girl and there was a knock at the door. Two men demanded the girl back and tried to force their way in but they didn't stand a chance against a big Dutch guy and I knocked one of them down. I took the girl home.
Eventually a court hearing was organised for Moisine and we were called to testify as witnesses. Moisine was handcuffed and taken to a jail. We figured wed get our Mercedes back but weeks and months passed and nothing. Eventually we were called before the director of customs who threatened us with five years in prison if we wouldn't pardon Moisine. We pardoned Moisine. The judge at the pardoning told us he couldn't release our mercedes and ordered us to stay in the country.
A week later we visited the embassy again and the attache invited us to his house. He offered to smuggle us out of the country at night on a little boat. We decided not to take him up on the offer and instead drove via Casablanca to Agadir where we would spend the next few months.
Not he beach in Agadir i noticed a tall blond girl with big breasts. She spoke enough English to explain that she was Tanya from Germany. In perfect German we talked and then began kissing.
After three months we decided to drive back to Rabat. Along the way we encountered a young man who invited us for dinner. We met many of his fiends and one had a father who was chief of police in Rabat and he offered to help us. The next day we got the stamp that allowed us to leave the country. Never had we been so happy to leave a country. Unfortunately the Mercedes and the money was left behind.
Chapter 2: To America
After the adventures in Morocco I became very depressed. I lost my Swedish girlfriend and no longer felt like sitting long nights, stoned, at Marco's place. One day I decided to visit my father. My mother had left him and moved to Brazil. My father asked for this meeting and I decided to hear him out.
He suggested I take courses to become an airline pilot. He had saved some money and investigated flight training. He thought the best thing for me was to move to America. He said if I didn't succeed he wouldn't be able to do anything else for me.
I was suddenly hopeful again. I drove to Mark's to tell him my plans and he decided to join me on my adventure to the United States.
Before Mark and I left for America I met up with Tanja for a couple of weeks in Bredstedt. We both found jobs at the Husumer Hafentage, a village festival. Following this we worked during Alser Vergnugen in Hamburg.
When it was time to leave my father drove Mark and I to Dusseldorf Airport and we boarded a flight to Chicago, then flew to Memphis, then we were picked up in a Piper Seneca and flew to Malden, Missouri.
Our first night we stayed in a hotel. We were picked up in the morning by an ugly, fat woman named Sally. She took us to the flight school and we handed over $28000 in cash. We were dropped off at the Pizza Mill and met other flight students most of whom were very negative about the school.
Malden is a village of 4000 people but has a big general aviation airport. For 20 years it was an air force base. The school was Hall Aviation and the owner was Nick Kraft. I flew nearly every day and soloed pretty soon. Ground school was taught by a fat guy named Bill.
Things went fine for six weeks then the school ran out of money to fill up the fuel tanks. We were told not to say anything bad about the school as it could jeopardise the education of existing students.
I discovered a farmer nearby had converted his barn into a gym. Me and Mark began using the gym in the free time we had.
An American student had a birthday and his parents bought him a aerobatic airplane. While flying this plane one of the wings stalled causing the plane to go into a spin, he crashed into the ground. That day we lost one of our buddies. It was terrible. I wrote to my father about the crash.
In his reply Papa didn't mind supporting me getting a certified flight instructor rating in California or Florida but only if they guaranteed to employ me afterwards. He said the son of the German ambassador was sent to Malden so it had status. He warned me that Americans are decadent, right wing and imbeciles and I should avoid them.
Flight training was now sporadic so we sometimes drove to Cape Girardeau and met girls in the nightclub there. Cape Girardeau is a town of 35000 but has several universities.
After six months I got my PPL.
The village of Malden had been segregated for ages. Black people lived on one side of town, white on the other.
One of the other fellow students was Andy from Guernsey. Andy often spoke of killing people and had served in the Foreign legion. When it snowed we built a humongous phallic symbol in snow in front of our motel. Some rednecks showed up and destroyed the phallus sculpture. Then a 300 pound police officer showed up and said the town doesn't tolerate what we did and if the rednecks had attacked us he wouldn't have done anything to stop them.
Then the FAA decide to revoke the schools licence of operation. Soon the school shut down filing for bankruptcy. Fortunately I had been able to do my commercial licence with multi engine and instrument rating. Many student lost money. We returned to the Netherlands.
I flew back to Malden to collect my $300 car and drove 1000 miles to Florida. I drove down the east coast to Miami and then over to the west coast. I found the Sarasota Airport where I met a young Dutch flight Instructor who let me stay in his apartment. A few days later I found Venice and decided to study there for my instructor rating.
During my training I met a girl named Claire who rode animals at the Ringling Brothers Circus. I told her I would be leaving the country after completing my training. We got married a few weeks later in Sarasota.
I then met a girl called Gail and fell in love with her. Claire got a job near Orlando and had to move. When I went to visit her she introduced me to her boyfriend and asked me to stay the night. I stayed in the guest room. I found myself wondering If I should go into Claire's bedroom grab her by the hair and throw her in my car and take her home.
The following day I drove home very sad. Several months later Claire called me and told me she had lost interest in her boyfriend and wanted to go to a Pacific island. As I wanted to stay here flying, she thought it better if we got divorced. After the divorce was final I drove to Tampa and married Gail, ten minutes before the courthouse closed.
I saw Claire one more time in Las Vegas, where she was a dancer in one of the casinos. She seemed unhappy with her life.
After fixing up apartments for a while for an Americanised Serb in downtown Sarasota, I finally got a job as a flight instructor at the Venice airport. In the evenings I worked at a pizza place to earn extra money. We got robbed once but the robber was caught when he tried again.
During winter seasons, Florida has many tourists and the flight school gets very busy. By April it quiets down. My motivation to start a flight school was to express my dissatisfaction at the way we were treated at Malden.
While a flight instructor at Huffman Aviation I gave lessons to Lee Behrhorst, a millionaire from Pittsburgh. I told him my ambition and with Lee's help I started my own flight school by purchasing four aircraft. I decided to rent a house near the airfield where we could teach theory.
The second flight instructor at the school was Bob, a flight instructor and ex-banker from Boston. He helped out with keeping the business going.
One day Gail asked for a divorce and moved to South Beach. The flight school was going well though and I now had 12 planes.
It happens that I began flying DC-8s after I impress someone in Miami enough to hire me. I was invited to the house of Al Burnside, apparently a big name in aviation. I played piano.
One day a beautiful eighteen-year-old girl named Jessica was standing outside my house because a girlfriend had told her i play piano. I already had a Canadian girlfriend who lived in Miami but Jessica didn't care. Jessica became an obsession of mine. We had threesomes with her friend Ita.
Jessica had many pills and created interesting recipes. This became a new experimental phase of my life.
She moved to Paris and then Brussels. It was almost Spring of 2001 when I visited her again. She told me she had a new boyfriend so after travelling all the way there I picked up my bag and left. I visited my father in Rotterdam instead.
I returned to Florida and made a new girlfriend. Beatrice from Venezuela.
I was working at Florida West Airline only a short time and didn't really know anybody when I met Ben Charles Padilla (Benny) a flight engineer in the crew lounge. We flew to Santiago, Chile. Once at the hotel Benny asked if I wanted to go downtown. At every 100 ft interval stood a heavily armed soldier, presumably a leftover from the Pinochet regime.
Benny seems to know the city well and talked about wild sexual adventures. He introduced me to the brothels of Santiago. I once assaulted a pimp who wouldn't give me my money back.
We also drive into the mountains. In Chile these are very, very high. Benny was afraid despite having been in Vietnam and been shot down five times. Benny would sometimes tell stories of his time flying rescue helicopter missions in Vietnam.
Flying in South America across the rainforest or over the Andes could be very beautiful.
Chapter 3: The Prelude to 911
In the autumn of 1999 I visited my Grandfather in Bochum for the last time. He told me he would take his own life in the New Year. He did.
Days when I wasn't working for Florida West I would work in the flight school. We had students from all over the world. In 2000 one of those was Ziad Jarrah from Lebanon. I sensed I was dealing with a special young man. He radiated a good aura. I found out he spoke fluent German, French and English.
Dorothy was assigned to teach Ziad. Despite his Muslim beliefs he agreed to this. After he got his PPL his instructor changed to Frank Martin who today is a captain at Continental Airlines. After getting his instrument rating Ziad continued with his commercial pilot training.
Ziad started dropping by my house. Another student, Jerry from Togo, would talk to him often. I allowed Jerry to move his belongings into my house. Ziad once gave me the name and telephone number of Ramzi bin al Shibh who wanted to come for flight training. Ziad went with us to eat greasy hamburgers and drink beer at Norma's. He was always preset for social occasions.
Ziad flew cross country flights to the Bahamas to gain hours for his licence.
American authorities refused Ramzi bin al Shibh a visa despite every attempt being made to get him over here. Ziad said he didn't know why this happened. Rachel, my assistant, did everything she could to get Ramzi a visa. She jokingly suggested that maybe he was a suspect in the USS Cole bombing. She didn't realise she was right on target.
Ziad left the school but returned a few months later with Aysel, a pretty girl studying medicine in Bochum. Everyone wished him good luck for the future.
Almost all our airplanes were airborne just after 8 am when one of our mechanics walked into dispatch to say an airplane had crashed into the World Trade Center.
After a fourth crash in Pennsylvania, we received a telephone call from NORAD telling us our planes had to land immediately. The next day I kept the flight school closed. I drank red wine and worked in the yard a little bit. That afternoon though I received a call from a colleague that the FBI wanted to speak to me.
I drove to the school and was approached by several FBI and TV reporters. One of the agents showed me a photo of Ziad Jarrah and asked if i knew who it was. After we entered the school I asked the FBI agents "How long is this ride?" What do you mean they asked. How long will this take, I clarified. Three months was the response. I offered to bring in administrative helpers and work as a term with the FBI. Maybe then just a few weeks the agent suggested.
It was very important to there FBI to trace every flight student of Arabic background. I had to remember a former Saudi student named Rami Mogedam.
Rami was introduced to us by a pilot at Tower Air, an airline headquartered at JFK. It went bankrupt in 2000. Rami was a load-master at Tower Air but wanted to be a pilot. Rami stayed with Rachel my assistant for several weeks then suddenly disappeared in a hurry leaving most of his belongings behind.
Rachel my assistant gave me stacks of phone numbers and I stated calling all around the world. The agents grew suspicious because I had taken the initiative. But they soon realised that with my language skills I could get results fast.
We received a phone call from the police chief of Bochum. He said he had Aysel Senguen standing next to him, she had reported Ziad Jarrah missing. She came to the phone and I told her he was believed to be involved in the attacks. She started crying loudly then fainted.
That evening I received a call from Jerry from Togo, he asked me if everything was OK and if one of our students had something to do with the attacks. I told him about Ziad Jarrah. He told me he saw the airplane crash into the Pentagon as he was now working in a building next to the Pentagon.
Several days later the files of Ramzi bin al Shibh were collected by the FBI. The next day a photo of Ramzi was seen on TV networks and a massive manhunt began. I was confronted nonstop by agents of the FBI. Also my fathers health was deteriorating. I thought maybe someone was out to eliminate us because we were helping in the investigation.
Huffman aviation next to us was bought out by a Dutchman named Rudi Dekker (sic). This could well look like a plot in which these two Dutch guys took part.
Jamie, my wife, went to the Netherlands for a while to escape the pressure.
After ignoring the media for three months I agreed to work with Zembla in conjunction with NPS. One of the agreements was that Rudi Dekker (sic) could not appear in the documentary. In the documentary I was asked to place a call to Ziad Jarrah's uncle in Lebanon. Jamal Jarrah told me the family was still trying to clear Ziads name.
A few months later I received a phone call from Yosri Fouda. At first I turned him down but later changed my mind if my cooperation could contribute to fostering peace in the world. I was very suspicious and asked the FBI to check out Yosri Fouda and his crew.
Three years after the 9/11 attacks, Rami Mogadem was arrested in Morocco after a discotheque in Casablanca blew up killing 100 people.
Rachel and I were called to speak to the FBI and some people from the US attorneys office. they offered us American flag lapel pins and I refused. They said they were very impressed with our help. They said they would seek the death penalty for Zacarias Moussaoui. I reacted immediately and said i do not agree, Zacarius hadn't done anything wrong yet. They answered that my view was typical of someone who comes from Europe.
A year went by and Rachel was flown to Virginia to help make the case against Zacarias. She went to court and answered all the questions. Then she went to a concert.
There was still unease around people who worked with the hijackers. Like Bruno and Olivier, two French instructors. Bruno I had known for 10 years, from the days I studied at Huffman Aviation.
After I opened my flight school I was introduced to Olivier Gandrille by my girlfriend Evette. Olivier completed his training at Florida Flight Academy in Sarasota. By coincidence Philippe who i knew from years earlier who would buy hash in Rotterdam had also decided to become a pilot and studied at this school.
I work well with French people. Bruno was my second French instructor. He left to work for a cargo airline but came back in 1999 and ended up at Huffman Aviation where he met Atta and Al Shehhi.
In 2001 Olivier came back from Africa and the Middle East. We had just received some Tunisian students and there was plenty of work.
A few days after 911 the FBI called me wanting to talk to Olivier. An unknown had phoned to say they had seen Olivier in Sarasota with Atta and Al Shehhi in a nightclub. Olivier flipped out. In the end however it seems it was a misunderstanding. Olivier Gandrille was mixed up with Olivier Grangon of Huffman aviation.
Bruno went on to fly Gulfstreams for Russian Industrialists.
A student named Silke sued the school for negligence following a crash she was involved in and received $35000 compensation.
Chapter 4: Intriguing Affairs
My friend Benny often spoke about his farmland in Kenya. He wanted to learn to fly fixed wing aircraft. He had difficulty doing this though.
During time off he would stay at my house which was a little crowded as I shared it with Jerry from Togo and Jorgich an aircraft engineer. One evening i suggested to Benny that we should become blood brothers. He took out a knife and cut into my palm. Then cut his own hand and pushed the bleeding hands together. We said we were now blood brothers. Benny passed his PPL a few weeks later.
After a while I lost track of Benny but heard he got fired from Florida West. A few months later I received a phone call from Benny in Kenya asking me too come out there. This was the last I spoke with him. Later I heard he had been hired to bring a 727 fuel tanker to an American owner but the plane never reached its destination. It was registration 844AA that had taken off from Angola and vanished. The CIA and FBI investigated its dissapearance.
Benny had arrived in Angola a few months before to supervise remodelling of aircraft for Aerospace Sales and Leasing Company in Miami. According to witnesses he had been working on the engines of the plane before disappearing with it. The transponder was switched off. Some reports said he had been overpowered by hijackers. What happened none knows.
In Spring 2001 I visited Holland to see my father. When i arrived at the family home it was clear my father was in need of help. He was seeing people who were not there and was very confused. After a couple of days I had to return to America. On the journey back I met a flight stewardess and got her number.
Just three weeks later I had to return because my father was in hospital. We discussed who would take care of him and it was decided I would. For several weeks I looked after him and the stewardess, Jamie, came over to help. She offered to move to Florida and help me look after him. One week later we went to Schipol Airport with my fathers friend Dirk Smit. He said goodbye and we flew to Orlando.
At Orlando my father refused to cooperate, he pulled the hand brake on his wheelchair several times. I was very tired and I became very irritated. I decided to leave him behind.
When I found a rental car I drove to the spot where I had left my father. A thunderstorm had erupted and water gushed all over him. Good, i thought.
After several weeks Jamie arrived to help. She would wash and feed him and drive him around for hours. It all became too much for her and she returned to the Netherlands after several months. My friend in Miami knew of a homosexual boy from Peru who was looking for a job. One day they appeared at my front door and I hired him on the spot to take care of father.
A few days after New Years Eve my father developed pneumonia and couldn't speak anymore. Eventually he stopped breathing.
For me difficult nights ensued. I would wake up crying or screaming. I would crawl into my cave for days at a time to process the pain. I often reacted aggressively to Jamie when she tried to pull me out of my cave. Something happened that almost ended my life.
It was seven am July 24 2002 when Glenn, one of my students and I and John our flight engineer met at Venice airfield ready for a flight to Mexico. After takeoff the left engine suddenly stopped working, then after correcting for the roll it suddenly regained its normal power then cut out again. The aircraft stalled twice and we hit concrete. The engines separated from the plane.
We survived the crash but had to escape quickly because of the fire or an explosion. Later on that day I told the NTSB my theory was there had been water in the fuel. But this incident would become one of the conspiracies that the CIA was trying to eliminate me after Rudi Dekker (sic) crashed his helicopter only a week later.
Near Christmas I was in a car accident and damaged my arm. In February Jamie called me at work and told mer she was pregnant and I would become a father. On October 5th my son Sebastian was born, six weeks early.
Jamie couldn't leave the country as he student visa had expired ad she probably wouldn't get back in. After 9/11 I had completed all the documents to become an American citizen but did not hear anything back from immigration. One day Jamie proposed taking Sebastian to the Netherlands so that I could concentrate on the business. I was angry and upset and responded to her threat to leave with counter threats that she would be arrested.
After a while I became a father for the second time, Rafael was born Oct 6th, also six weeks early.
I doubled the mortgage on the house to build an enormous swimming pool.
One day i came home and found a note from Jaime. It said she had left me because I was unpredictable. In panic I called homeland security. I told them I was afraid my child would be kidnapped. I drank myself to sleep and decided to lay in the swimming pool.
Two days later I woke up in intensive care in the Venice hospital. I assured the psychiatrist it was not a suicide attempt. I was allowed to go home. My mother, wife and children were waiting there for me. It was like old times again.
However in the summer I found another note.: "I cannot tiptoe around anymore, afraid to say something because you will explode again and start threatening and insulting. You said everything would be different… You are even more unpredictable and you literally destroy me with fear of your behaviour."
This time I was better prepared too deal with it. One of my buddies at the FBI had helped me get my paperwork sorted out to become an American citizen and the next day I drove to Miami to pick up my new US passport, just in case i needed it in a hurry.
But it seemed that Jamie had not left the country. Two months later we stood in front of a judge. Jamie had obtained a restraining order against me. A month later I was allowed to return to my own house and live with my wife and children.
In June of 2009 she left me again. This time the children were not taken away. We made arrangements that I could pick them up Tuesdays and Fridays.
April 2010 I was handed a lawsuit from my wife.
About the Author
Arne Kruithof was born October 10 1963 in Rotterdam.
His Grandfather was an SS officer in the Second World War and would tell exciting stories. He had fought in Finland against the Russians.
There was not much money in the family. Often a bath would be shared by the entire family.
His father and mother were enthusiastic glider pilots. Arne helped landing and departing gliders as a little boy.
Arne attended Rotterdamse Vrje School.
Today he lives in Nokomis, Florida and dreams of a world sailboat tour accompanied by his two sons.