- The Washington Times - Friday, January 15, 2010

NEW YORK | Months after the crash, Doreen Welsh had a panic attack when she inhaled a little water in the shower. Anastasia Sosa no longer finds swimming fun - it feels too much like survival training. And Jorge Morgado can’t bring himself to get back on a plane.

A year after the 155 people aboard the crippled US Airways Flight 1549 survived a splash-landing in the frigid Hudson River, some are experiencing the psychological effects of their terrifying descent and harrowing evacuation.

While many have spoken of a newfound appreciation for life and a focus on family, some also are struggling to regain their balance emotionally.

“It was a real breaking point for me,” said Mrs. Sosa, who believed her husband and two young children would die with her.

In what became known as the Miracle on the Hudson, Capt. Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger deftly put his Airbus A320 down in the river on Jan. 15, 2009, after a collision with a flock of birds disabled the aircraft’s engines.

On Friday, the anniversary, Mr. Sullenberger and some of the survivors will take a boat out to the place where they were pulled soaked and freezing from the water, and at the moment of impact they will raise their glasses in a toast.

Returning to the river won’t be easy for Miss Welsh. One of three flight attendants on Flight 1549, she remembers being seconds away from drowning as water gushed into the rear of the aircraft.

Even now, she is afraid of water. One day, six or seven months after the crash, she inhaled some water in the shower and had a full-scale panic attack, experiencing the evacuation again. She has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

She still hasn’t decided whether to go back to her job. One decision she has made: She won’t be seeking cosmetic surgery to hide the prominent scar left on her leg from the gash she suffered that day.

“When I look at it, it gives me that jolt to be grateful, and maybe I need that,” said the Ambridge, Pa., woman.

Mr. Morgado has yet to get on a plane again.

“I know once I get on, they close that door and you’re strapped in your seat, you’re in, you’re not going anywhere. The flashbacks will still come,” said the 33-year-old flooring company owner, who was on a golf trip when the plane went down. “What happened will always be there.”



Click to Read More

Click to Hide