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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
CNN Films: Sole Survivor
Aired March 29, 2014 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Your 5191 crashed this morning shortly after take off at...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Begin an investigation as crashed the tragic ending to a Super Bowl ...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: U21 plane crashed in the dense, forest-laden Margalla Hills.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But it seems certain there were no survivors, then they found Mohammed crying but alive. The two-year-old lay...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Only one. George Lamson Jr. lived its...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Her name is Bahia Bakari and Shira...
GEORGE LAMSON JR., GALAXY 203 PLANE CRASH SURVIVOR: I don't believe in random chance. I know I go against the scientists on this. I believe that my life was spared for a reason either I wanted or something higher power than me wanted.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: George, turn around and say -- wave goodbye.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was early Monday morning, a group of tourist boarded a plane after a weekend of gambling, skiing, and watching the Super Bowl in Reno. The plane took off but within minutes it had crashed. 17-year-old George Lamson Jr. he was thrown from the plane but miraculously, he was able to walk away.
You weren't badly hurt at all, were you?
LAMSON: No. I feel fine. I just have a few sores along the side of my leg and right here on my hand. I feel just great.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Very few people have ever survived the plane crash, George, maybe, you could tell us how it went?
LAMSON: Well, we took off and everything seemed OK and very fine, and all of sudden hit some turbulence. And we started falling down from the sky and the pilot told us we're going to crash and we crashed.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The pilot told you? What exactly did he say?
LAMSON: He says, "We're going down."
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Going down. And how much time do you think you had between hearing that and actual impact.
LAMSON: It is about two seconds at the very most.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What did you do in those two seconds? Any thoughts of trying to save your life?
LAMSON: Yes. I covered up my body as much as possible. I lifted my legs up and hoped for the best.
JACK BULAVSKI: Considering the impact of the crash and what the crash site looks like, the fact that he's in the condition that he is in, really is a miracle. There's no question about it. Well, you are of all the gamblers on that plane, sir, you are the luckiest.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In Reno, the world began to wonder at the luck and poise of 17-year-old George Lamson Jr. of St.Paul. He lost his father in the debris of the old Galaxy elector airliner, tossed clear of the fire balls still strapped in his seat, the Cretin High senior assumed the blessing and burden of being the e only survivor.
LAMSON: So I kicked the wall while we hit the ground. So I was sliding through all these fire and debris.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: George's demeanor when he first came out, when we first were seeing him in the hospital bed and then later when he came out in a wheel chair, he was sort of surprised to see everybody there. You know, there was this sort of excitement. Remember he was 17. And all of a sudden all these people are there with all these cameras and they're all for him, you know.
And we were kind of conscious with that and yet we knew he had been through this horrific accident when the images of that moment were carried back around the country because it was covered everywhere. And it was the biggest story in the country at the time. People were stunned and he was completely composed and had even a touch of humor.
When somebody asked him if he would fly again, he said, "Yes. I just don't want to have an accident again."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LAMSON: You notice that in this condition I am compared with other people, I do feel very, very lucky.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LAMSON: Being placed as a miracle boy or someone that is a recipient of a miracle, people look at you and think that you had -- you got a destiny. There's something God saved you for. There's a special reason for you to be here. And that's unrealistic, it's completely unrealistic but I look at my life and I see my daughter, I see my life. It's definitely worth living for, it's worth being here still. And these other things that people place on me, I can't agree with their fantasies or their expectations. I'm going to be OK with who I am. I'm fine.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Now, to a tragic crash at sea and one small miracle. Officials say a 14-year-old girl was plucked alive from the Indian Ocean when a Yemeni Yet plane went down. There were 153 people on board.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The community of Comoros Islanders living in France has been devastated by this accident. Many lost loved ones who were going home for the Holidays -- the 14-year old who beat all the odds flew to Paris on a French government jet with a special medical team. Bruised and cut, Bahia Bakari was just able to talk.
In Paris, Kassim Bakari said the emotional trauma is just beginning. It will be very hard for her he says. She survives but her mother was killed in the crash.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Bahia Bakari the young girl who escaped from the Yemeni Yet crash rejoins her father at the Bourget airport this morning. She returned to France in a medical airplane wit the help of Alain Joyandet.
ALAIN JOYANDET: Are you 14 now or 15?
KASSIM BAKARI, FATHER OF BAHIA BAKARI: 14.
JOYANDET: I happened to be in region on a diplomatic mission when I learned there was a plane crash and that there was one sole survivor. (inaudible) the survivor. I introduced myself to her. She said "Hello" to me.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (inaudible) a doctor?
JOYANDET (speaking in French): She (inaudible) and I'll you why (inaudible) to be a doctor (inaudible) hospitalized (inaudible) did. (inaudible) Well, she didn't tell us. They came, I didn't know. We see each other regularly but not often enough, that's for sure.
On the legs (inaudible) on the (inaudible) feet, and also (inaudible) bandage (inaudible) your knees. (inaudible) and I want you to remember.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JAMES POLEHINKE, CO-PILOT COMAIR FLIGHT 5191: There was nothing out of the ordinary. There was nothing wrong with the plane. There was nothing wrong with me or the captain.
AMY CLAY, WIFE OF COMAIR FLIGHT 5191 PILOT: So they taxied out to where their map told them to go and that actually directly below the tower. The tower that morning was understaffed. It was a 6 AM flight. There should have been two people in the tower. There was only one. They held short directly underneath him for about 15 seconds I think. He had his back turned so he never saw that they were headed out the wrong way. And he cleared them without turning around and looking.
JAMES POLEHINKE: The last thing I remember was when Captain Clay said, "You have the controls?" I said, "Yes, I have the controls." I said, "Set thrust." He set the thrust and away we went.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Clear for take off on runway 2-2 the pilots take off from the much shorter runway 2-6. Pilots struggled to pull the plane into the air but simply run out of room.
IDA POLEHINKE, WIFE OF JAMES POLIHINKE: He was not scheduled to fly. He was supposed to be commuting home.
JAMES POLEHINKE: I was not supposed to be on the plane but...
IDA POLEHINKE: Neither does captain.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The headline of the hour is what we feared that 49 of the 50 souls on board that aircraft had died.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: At least one confirmed survivor ...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, one known survivor and we have an update on that man's situation at the U.K. Hospital.
JASON ZZACK: And I remember news being on it's like keep wanting to hear possibly a survivor, is there a survivor. There's been confirmation that there's one survivor and it just let it be my mother, let it be my mother.
AMY CLAY: That's what they were reporting that, you know, the one person that survived was crew member. So I had a 50-50 chance that was him.
ZZACK: From the corner (inaudible) in touch with my Father and I heard through his phone standing next to me I'm sorry.
CLAY: I got the first call around 7:38 in the morning and it's about in the news when I finally found out that it was not -- that he had not been was the survivor.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Three first responders tempting their own danger were able to rescue first officer James Polehinke from the cockpit. No one else can be saved.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hospital officials say they felt they were close identifying the girl when Anthony Shehen (ph) called early this morning. He said his granddaughter has brown hair, brown eyes, a chipped tooth and was wearing purple nail polish. The description matched. Cecelia has burns over 30 percent of her body. She lost her mother, father and 6-year-old brother in the firry plane crash.
Cecelia's grandfather has been visiting her several times a day.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She has the nurses for her mother.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The hospital describes her as a talkative little girl whose spirits are lifted by stuffed animals, strawberry milk shakes and bed time stories.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The message has all ready arrived here loud and clear that the whole world is rooting for Cecelia.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Cecelia has now received nearly 1,900 gifts 18,000 letters and $130,000. From the latest gesture of good will comes all the way from Tulsa, Oklahoma.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Today flowers came from the wife of the co-pilot who died in flight 255. Doctor say it will be a day or two until they know for sure if Cecelia will require more skin graft. But the prognosis for the miracle girl is extremely good.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm happily married to my high school sweetheart. I'm studying to get my masters in art therapy. I am happy I'm just -- I've never been happier. I think about the accident everyday it's kind of hard to think about it when I look on the mirror. I have visuals scares my arms and my legs and I have a scare on my fore head. I have memories of my parents not so much like how they talked but more like interactions with them.
Like for example I remember sitting in the car with my mom listening to the radio and a song came on that was called Broken Wings, it's the 80s song. Clearly about like love or a stalker or something but I actually heard about the song and I said mom what the song about and she said all it's about the bird his wings were broken. She was trying to explain to me that it was like free and I said, "Oh, well did the bird get better," and she said "Yes, yes he got better".
(END VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right over here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 50 and 60.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK that's right behind that buffet.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, sir.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bulkhead, but you couldn't see any sits in front of you, you could just see a bulkhead, is that correct.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's right, sir.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: George Junior has spent a decade trying to make sense out of that January night in Reno.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LAMSON: There's people in all walks of life that have suffered lost like I have and it's just they don't get any recognition for it. I think what makes me different is that when the strategy struck I was under the spotlight by media, by everybody in my town, everybody knew who I was and it's a good feeling to tap people know who you are and care. But when it stopped, when people don't remember who you are it's a very big vacuum (ph) and that hurt a lot.
I would sleep a lot and I would eat a lot to -- I mean I do everything I could not to think about what was going on in front of me.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's amazing hands George Lamson.
LAMSON: March of that year I have dropped out of college.
I can see it. Ten years from now, I'll be jamming on stage.
This is like 1987 I was driving like a 150 miles an hour in this particular car in the night and this is really I don't know why I did that I just like the thrill of being on the edge of death. I felt like the, you know, maybe I'm being protected, you know, and I wanted to see if those are really true. Receive some (inaudible) money and (inaudible) some at 1987 and I went through that money pretty quickly because I was not thinking about tomorrow, I didn't think I was going to live to be -- to five years from now.
Hannah was a good motivation for me to get myself straightened out. So once Hannah was born I changed. I have to make a change and that's what I did. This year is my junior year at high school I went to all boys school I'm fully I'm like where you went through. At that time my life I was a working for my dad.
HANNAH LAMSON, GEORGE'S DAUGHTER: If he wasn't in a plane crash I think he'd be more successful. He was in a lot of sports back in high school and he is really good at it and he had like the life he always wanted with a girlfriend, the friends and everything. And he probably would still be in Minnesota now and not in Reno. I probably wouldn't be here.
LAMSON: This is the airport where we took off on January 21st of 1985. I didn't move here to be near the crash scene. It was this more of the, I don't know. You think really deep with all of what you're doing to your life and all the people that were involved with this accident that may have done more with your life and you feel guilty that you're not using your life to do something better.
HANNAH LAMSON: He always talk about it, he like -- sometimes always depressed about it. He's like why am I still here, like I made like a fool out of myself like I'm not even doing anything with my life. It makes me sad.
LAMSON: During the course of my life the last 25 years I have been curios to know what makes a person feel from a situation that happens to me. I've never been able to find out or talk to anybody that has been through what I've been through. To my knowledge there are 14 sole survivors of airplane crashes of large magnitudes. I would like to learn a little about what happened to others that have gone through what I've gone through.
The names of the 14 survivors that I know of are Logan Van (ph), Hasai (ph), Bahia Bakari, James Polehinke, Mohammed Elf (ph), Sata Osman (ph), Yosef July (ph), Serge Petraf (ph), Erika Delgado, Annette Herkins (ph), Vesna Velovich (ph), Cecelia Cichan, Yubai Yosev (ph), Juliane Koepcke , and Juan Lu (ph) and I would really like to know how they're coming along. How they've learned, I would like to be friends with this people to let them know that I'm there for them to help them the best that I can form I've learned.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Foreign Language)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Foreign Language)
BAKARI (Foreign language): It says in Qur'an that everything that happens in a lifetime is written.
This is my daughter. She's the second after Bahia. And the little one is my boy. And this is my youngest son. Bahia is the big sister.
(inaudible) use the word miracle. (inaudible) destiny.
BAHIA BAKARI (Foreign language): There are people who say if you're a survivor, you should probably do great things. When you're only 14 years old, you do not think of doing great things at that age. It puts you under pressure.
(inaudible) hanging out with my friends (inaudible) group and they say, "Look it's her. It's her."
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Anything that might (inaudible) and this story will remain in he head all her life. I don't want her to be locked in a bubble alone. I'd rather she be able to share the dream.
Sometimes Bahia closes herself off and I see that, but I don't want to push her. I would rather she have friends that have lived through the same tragedy and that she can talk with them when she can't talk to papa because there were are some things that papa knows about, but there are things that papa has not experienced.
JAMES POLEHINKE: But the way it's held for a suit case you're told not to carry. So if I pick this side up and then, you know, if I started picking up like that, that's what happens so I can't do it myself.
IDA POLEHINKE: It might slide off the edge.
I mean, he was -- as if an angel wrapped his wings around him, he held him because he was in the cockpit. There's no way he could have gotten out of that. There wasn't even a room for his body to be there.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The only reason he survived there was a quick action on the part of the rescue workers. The two public safety officers that found him and they actually stuck their heads up in the remains of the cockpit. Found him, removed him, recognizes his injuries were so severe and life threatening that they didn't have time to wait for an ambulance and they put him on the back of one of the SUVs the police SUVs and sped into the hospital.
CLAY: The miracle A that anyone survived that accident that it is an incredible, an astronomical miracle that a pilot survived that accident because let me tell you a pilot always die, always.
IDA POLEHINKE: They had cut all his clothes off and he always wore this cross on his tie and they didn't know he was laying on his tie and she found the bleed and the cross came up on the x-ray right over his heart. He had come to and he's like, you know, what happened? And, I said you were in a plane crash and asked what happened to everybody else? I asked the doctor can I tell him and then I told him, you know, you're the only one. And he couldn't talk or anything so he just wept.
JAMES POLEHINKE: My first concern was the passengers that were my responsibility that day.
IDA POLEHINKE: He by no means pulled the long straw and won the lottery because he got to live. First of all, he would have rather die. No doubt about it, he would rather die. His conviction as a pilot was so great and he would rather gone down with the ship. And that's how he felt, you know, this will never not be in our lives and it's such an emotional cross to bear. And no one really sees that we -- and he would have given anything to have gone with all of them rather than sitting here today and doing this.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The SAA has admitted it violated it's own policy by having only one controller in that tower at Blue Grass Airport a second controller should have been in the tower handling planes on radar while the other worked with planes on the runway.
CLAY: Yes. Everybody was really very focused on the tower and the fact that there was only one controller and he had his back turned and that kind of thing. And then the airline came out and now, it's proactively that the pilots have violated sterile cockpit.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sterile cockpit rule is actually a federal air regulation the pilots are required to follow that anytime you're below 10,000 feet and the airplane's under its own power, you're only allowed to talk about what is pertinent to the flight.
CLAY: After the airline came out and announced that they violated sterile cockpit and the whole thing shifted towards the pilot.
PAUL NELSON: When the pilot gets a hold of the cockpit reports a record of transcripts and they see this 20 minutes of chatter, I think there is some confusion, saying, "Oh, they were chattering about everything that didn't made a -- no wonder they had a problem." That's not sterile cockpit.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Getting to know each other on a flight deck in this casual conversation that tends to precede each flight is actually extremely important. And what that does is a breaks down barriers.
NELSON: As a human kind of figure out how you tick and you need to figure out how I tick.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Violation of sterile cockpit is extremely common. It happens all the time. It's happening right now. That does not cause airplanes to crash. However, what it does do is it removes one's safety net.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There was windows and the head guy came in to tell us to stay from the windows so someone had evidently made a threat.
IDA POLEHINKE: And when someone does happen, you want somebody to blame, you know, 'cause you're hurting and it helps to focus and, you know, I totally, totally understand and don't -- I have no animosity towards any of them. It was -- they're heartbreaking.
ZZACK: Unfortunately, it's easier to blame the person who can take it than the person that is no longer there. Had he been killed in this thing, too? I don't want to say that recalls lot of closure for anybody, I'm speaking on me. It would stop a lot of that, the anger, because there's nobody to be angered to.
CLAY: My feeling is always been if Jeff had lived, we would've taken him and in any form, and I think he would've either to be with it or just lost it mentally or he would've found the way to connect those time. I think he's brave, he would've wound up. I just don't think he could've done it. I think, for him, it's a blessing thing that he's on.
JAMES POLEHINKE: I have an article that the Kentucky Herald have published that show faces of the people who are on board. It gives profiles and not that I go back and look at it just to torture myself but just to see who the people were on the plane and see what they had done. The age range is so big from 16 to, I think, 70 but I don't think there'll ever be a time that maybe I can forgive myself because again, going back to what I had mentioned in earlier conversation, the people that came on board in the plane were my responsibility. They were mine and Captain Clay's responsibility and if there's anything that I can say to the family members is that I'm sorry, we made that mistake because they lost their love ones that day. And I just hope that God can give the family members some comfort, some peace, and some compassion so that their burden gets less as time goes on.
HANNAH LAMSON, GEORGE'S DAUGHTER: I currently live with my dad. I have one stepbrother but I call my real brother because he's only thing I really have, really and my mom basically lives like 10 minutes away from here so I see her like everyday. My dad doesn't like decorating at all because he feels it's a man's house and it's like a man cave and it's like he has no woman here besides me so it's like I don't really have that much authority in the house.
GEORGE LAMSON: My name is George Lamson. I'm also a sole survivor of a plane crash that happened in Reno, Nevada in 1985. I'm trying to reach out to the other sole survivors out there in hopes to talk to you and maybe someday, would meet you. It's funny that there are so few of us that have been through what we have been through and almost none of us have ever connected with each other.
I'm reaching out to everybody. The reason why I'm doing this is to try to help others and that's my motivation. Completely understand where you're coming from. I was there but if you ever change your mind, you know, please, you know, let me know.
HANNAH LAMSON: Hey, are you, OK?
GEORGE LAMSON: Yeah, I'm OK. I spent some time on the phone with Erica Delgado (ph).
HANNAH LAMSON: If closure to him, so it's helping cope with everything and getting to know what other people are feeling and I don't know, I just think it's really cool.
GEORGE LAMSON: Hello Via. My name is George Lamson. I live in the United States. I was 17 years old at the time of the accident. All the people on that flight died, including my father.
HANNAH LAMSON: Well, he sends letters out to hopefully like they'll response in return but usually it comes out not getting any and he gets disappointed.
BAHIA BAKARI (Foreign language): I remember the plane started to descend. They told us to fasten our seatbelts because we were crashing. After, then I don't remember what happened. I only remember an electric shock. I hear other voices, women crying out, but I didn't see them. I saw fragments and decided to swim and hang on. I was hanging on to a piece of the plane. At the moment, I thought no one would find me.
Then I head some shouting, "Come here!" I swam with the piece of airplane, but the sea was very big -- and brought me back in the boat.
I am happy I don't feel alone anymore. Because even when others, friends, and family, tell me they understood, they can't truly understand what I feel. The others can better understand what I truly feel everyday. And that's good.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (Foreign language): I would really like to meet George. I hope he (inaudible) life. I was very (inaudible) message. And I (inaudible) him, and I'll (inaudible) Bahia. (inaudible) would like to (inaudible) thank you -- to his daughter as well.
GEORGE LAMSON: What's that? I hope you're not going out with that guy.
HANNAH LAMSON: Definitely not.
GEORGE LAMSON: Thank God.
I wrote an e-mail to Cecelia ones and she's the one that I've knew most about because it happens so close to -- when my accident happened. And I felt so bad for, you know, four-year-old girl lost her entire family. I got a reply back and then I never heard from her again, so, I respected her privacy and stayed away.
CECELIA CICHAN: I have read about other sole survivors especially that little girl two years ago Bahia. I read about one woman who, like, her plane crushed into like the forest and she had to survive for a few days. When I read about things like that, it makes me feel almost inferior like she had to work to survive and I just woke up in the hospital, you know, I just lie there and everybody else did the work.
I got this tattoo as reminder of where I've come from and I see it as, you know, like so many things scars, you know, whatever -- or put it on my body against my will, and I decided to put this on my body for myself.
I think that me surviving was randomized. I just happened to be in the right place at the right time. But, it was my wake up call and I am enjoying everyday of my life now.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 156 loved ones, who perished August 16, 1987 at 8:46 p.m. at the Northwest Airline flight by and we will never find any ...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When I come out all the time, every year, you know, that's my -- one thing I do, but they're home on vacation like I said and (inaudible) had climbed the tree, and my father hollered at him told him to get out of that tree if you break a leg. And we wish now he broke a leg because they would have stayed back.
CICHAN: I've never been to the memorial. I've never been a part of -- I feel like I am part of the family but I've never like actively been a part. I feel like maybe I would just get way too much attention. The family members of flight 255, they know that I like to be private. They understand that I don't want to be in the spotlight.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think I'm doing if I ever met a survivor. And once we're meeting in New York and for two days, and she was on the lift, and I didn't know it. When I met her, all I did was cry, cry, cry, cry, and she never cried. But I cried like a little baby, because to me they was a part of this whole episode that was missing. It's her. And it was like when I met her, it put that little piece of a puzzle in place.
CICHAN: When I realized that I was the only person to survive that plane crush, I was maybe in middle school, high school maybe being an adolescent and confused. So it's just extra stress for me and I remember feeling angry and survivor's guilt why didn't my brother survived. Why didn't anybody, you know, why me?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As I'm working at the night of the crash, one of the guys I was with John, He has actually heard a moaning. After a few minutes, we saw a chair that was lying upside down and we pick up the chair and underneath, there was -- well, Cecelia the survivor.
CICHAN: John really makes an effort to be active in my life. We talk all the time on the internet. He came to my wedding and we danced at my reception.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I didn't think that nobody will survive. I guess the feeling of it -- I guess with 156 people perished in that night, I went home with, you know, I guess, a little glimmer of hope where the other guys in my crew can really go home with anything.
CICHAN: I feel like I need to keep in touch with John because he's almost like a link to the void that I mentioned earlier where I don't remember what happened. Maybe one time I'll asked him in detail is like, you know, what did my mother's body look like, you know, she must look not so good and he didn't really want to tell me. I'm sure that would be traumatizing, but, you know, he knows the things that I don't know and it's a link between the before and the after.
As of now, I plan on going to the memorial service for 2012. I may have been quiet over the years and I continue to want to be private, but, I too, think about you guys and what you must have gone through.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That is daddy. That is mama. That is Sarah (ph). And that is Shubby (ph).
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: On the planet Mars.
CLAY: The girls actually don't have any memory of him. I mean they were -- Sarah (ph) was three months old when he died so, you know, what do you going to remember from being a newborn. Shubby (ph) had just turned two. I get a lot of questions about, you know, about heaven, about, you know, well, does daddy, you know, did daddy love us. I try very hard to weave him into our -- just into our everyday existence, if you know, if somebody eats like cookie dough. You know daddy loves cookie dough.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But we know with --
CLAY: We know we won't with just one help.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No. Oh, man.
CLAY: And unfortunately in this day and age everything is preserved forever, I mean, everything is on the Internet. So every damning headline, every nasty thing it was said one of these days, somebody is going to Google his name. And he is -- you're going to find 15,000 pages literally. So someday I'm going to have to have some pretty tough conversations with them about what was said about their dad. Not going to be a fun part. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Inaudible) do there.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: One.
CLAY: Is it both ends of the string through each bead or you can do two separate lines of beads.
JAMES POLEHINKE: OK. Let's go to the rest of the single engine emergency action items please. And we'll just take it off.
IDA POLEHINKE: Did you turn the engine off?
JAMES POLEHINKE: Yes the engine's off.
IDA POLEHINKE: OK. Good.
And when he first was in school, he made the whole cockpit. And even went so far as screwing all the switches.
JAMES POLEHINKE: Confirmed?
IDA POLEHINKE: Confirmed.
JAMES POLEHINKE: Flight out. Condition level, confirmed?
IDA POLEHINKE: Confirmed.
JAMES POLEHINKE: Feather. Electrical fend switch, confirmed?
IDA POLEHINKE: Confirmed.
We used to sit together and do call outs in the hot garage because he build it, it was still big, we couldn't get in the door in the house.
JAMES POLEHINKE: Co-pilot ejection seat, confirmed?
IDA POLLEHINKE: No, that would be negative captain.
JAMES POLEHINKE: Confirmed.
IDA POLLEHINKE: And it was his dream and, you know, to be able to live it was amazing and don't have to end with.
JAMES POLEHINKE: Well, I built it to be as realistic as possible to when I did upgrade, that go stream. I just wanted my flaws and my captain call outs and everything to be as concise as possible. A good pilot is always ready and they always are.
I would be doing it in my sleep all the procedures, all the movings of the handles or the switches and stuff and should be like the next day you were talking to your sleep and you were doing a some single engine emergency procedures on like a really (inaudible). But that's how ingrained it needs to be so that when the situation does arise, it comes natural to you and the other person flying the plane.
Whenever you face trials or struggles of any kind, know that the trusting of your faith develop perseverance. So some as well, if God, going back to what I was, if God is just such a loving God, we should already have it good. Well, but then how do we develop faith in him to know that at the end, we're going to live in, you know, eternal peace forever. I mean, I don't know -- can you measure forever? How long is forever? But be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances for this is God's will.
I'm supposed to be joyful that I'm paralyzed and I can't walk and I can't do the things, but I should because I'm alive and I can still do the things, almost all of the things that I did prior to the accident except to stand and walk and fly. So it's that constant human struggle that we have that put a -- so now that's my religious thinking of it.
HANNAH LAMSON: Packing up for France to see Bahia. I hope she likes my outfit. And well she lives in Paris but we're going to Normandy for the weekend and it'd pretty cool.
GEARGE LAMSON: How you doing kid?
H. LAMSON: Good. Daddy, will this look bad on me?
G. LAMSON: I don't think so. It looks really cute.
H. LAMSON: Yay.
G. LAMSON: Let's go.
But I'm excited. This is going to be really cool.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Again, this is very important that you turn off your cellular phones.
H. LAMSON: Will you eat a snail with me?
G. LAMSON: If it's good, yes, I will eat it. Throw some garlic and some butter on it, oh, yes. I read so much about Europe, I have never seen it in person, though. It will be nice to see it.
You know, I could go weeks without thinking about what happened to me. But it either comes up in a dream. It comes up in conversation. It comes up in just normal life. I will see something and I will remember. Sometimes, it puts me in a bad state of mind, and it makes me very depressed.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: At the end of the day, the whole thing was just a perfect storm.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thirty-one investigators would spend 13,000 hours examining every facet of the crash.
DEBORAH HERSMAN, CHAIRWOMAN, NATIONAL TRANSPORTATION SAFETY BOARD: The NTSB was created to investigate accidents, and, really, the important part of that is to have an independent organization that's not connected to any group or organization.
We're not the regulator. We want to make sure, through our investigations, that we're really finding out the truth.
PAUL NELSON, VICE CHAIRMAN, AIRLINE PILOTS ASSOCIATION: From an investigator's standpoint, as I looked at the stuff and I see the systems picture, in some ways, how things were set up there, it is kind of amazing to me that it took seven days before somebody -- before we had this accident.
SHAWN PRUCHNICKI, PRESIDENT, HUMAN FACTORS INVESTIGATION: What happened that morning was, they ended up stopping here, thinking they were over here. The turn to this runway, if you notice this angular relationship, is almost identical to what they have done in the past.
So the picture of turning onto the runway was basically identical. The mechanisms that are in place to advise the crew that that section of taxiway is closed was not provided to them. These low barricade lights were actually not that visible. Several of the other crews we interviewed had mentioned that they did not see these.
These lights were found were turned 90 degrees. They were turned the wrong way.
One of the more poignant events that took place in this investigation for me, I was approached by a Comair employee saying that some mechanics wanted to talk to us. They were worried for quite some time that an accident could happen, that they found that area confusing.
So I obviously felt this was very important and brought this to the attention of the NTSB person that I was responsible for reporting to, and I was told, we don't need to talk to them because we have already another evidence showing this is confusing.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And though the construction project altered the taxiways, new maps and charts used in cockpits at Comair and other airlines were not updated.
PRUCHNICKI: A (INAUDIBLE) map or chart is the maps and charts that pilots use to navigate not only the airways of the sky, but also the surface of any airport. The (INAUDIBLE) map was actually incorrect that morning. What was on the chart did not match the signs that the pilots were seeing outside the window.
JAMES POLEHINKE, CO-PILOT: With us not knowing that there was construction going on on Blue Grass, Lexington, airport that day, we did not have the appropriate information to do our jobs in a manner to get passengers from point A to B safely.
PRUCHNICKI: We interviewed numerous people that had flown with Jeff and Jim prior to the accident, in fact, including check airmen, or individuals that grade them and rate their abilities.
And what we found across the board was terms like professionalism, great guys, very standard. Highly competent was one that I heard. It was the same thing for every single person we interviewed. We heard nothing negative at all.
POLEHINKE: Going up, because I have this, I -- unlike my brother's house that didn't have the railings, and we tried to go and thump, I fell down, and I have this.
So I'm not going any place. From here down, it's practically nil. This feels so good. I'm playing with you, because no leg. Because the pain medicine has kicked in, I don't feel the pain.
When I push down, all my back muscles are being used. I was going up to New York for Christmas to visit my brothers, my nieces and nephews. I was happy and excited, and in a split-second, I went back to the family members that had lost somebody on Flight 5191. What are they thinking about and what are they going through with Christmas coming up? They don't have that person there anymore.
JASON BIZZACK, SON OF CRASH VICTIM: This is my home, which is mostly full of animals, which I take a bit part from my mother. She the dolphin lover, whales, dolphins, manatees.
And she was standing out on the dock, and there was a dolphin that just popped up and I got a picture of her with it. The photos of my mom would be that one, because it just captured her smile that I do miss quite a bit.
It's -- I have a hard time walking by it without even getting a little choked up. There's still those I want to call her mom, and even after five years, there's still that, I want my mom, and I can't do it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. That's enough, all right? That's enough.
POLEHINKE: No, it's not.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, nice smell. See?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, I can't. You overseason everything.
POLEHINKE: I couldn't imagine, one, somebody doing this on their own. And, two, I just -- I wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy.
I have cried harder than any man has ever cried or should be able to cry, and my wife was there to support me to where I could just put my head on her shoulder and cry.
It's that constant struggle where my inner voice wants to keep going forward, and the good voice says, yes, come on, you have that inner strength to do it. But the bad voice says, no, stay here. Have another shot of liquor.
I was doing a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. And her being my caregiver at the time, being with me 24 hours, she would be the one that would have to put up with the intense roller-coaster, if you will, ride of my feelings. So has it gotten better in the five years? Yes. But do I still have the bad days that she still has to put up with? Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Am I heavy? No, I'm not heavy? Oh, my gosh. This hurts my booty. Oh, we have got to go up a hill and take a right. Oh, I think I'm making the tires crunch.
GEORGE LAMSON, SURVIVOR: Actually, I don't really want to tell her anything right off the bat. I would like to listen to her first, see where she's at, and then go from there, because what I know now, I think everybody's experience is different.
HANNAH LAMSON, DAUGHTER: Well, it's 9:00 p.m., and, as you can see, it's still bright outside, and we're on our way to see Bahia and her dad at the train station. And I'm excited. I would say just to be yourself and just express the way you want to.
G. LAMSON: Hello. Good to see you. Nice to meet you.
H. LAMSON: We went to this house that has all like these American games, French games that we can just like incorporate into our language to communicate.
G. LAMSON: Most sole survivors are young, under the age of 17. I don't know why. We will never know the answer to this. This is a miracle. I believe it's a miracle, what happened to me. I believe it's a miracle what happened to these other folks.
If I had no media attention, it would have been less pain. In today's Internet, the age, I could not imagine what it would be like to have all that recognition placed upon you. And it would just be awful.
H. LAMSON: At first, she was like avoiding everyone. Then later on, she like started coming like out to everyone. I don't know. I'm glad I got her out of her shell.
G. LAMSON: Bahia is going to visit her mother's grave for the first time since the accident happened.
Ironically, she's going to be flying out on the same date that she flew out two years before. And she's very frightened to be on a plane again after that.
Bahia, I miss my father, too. These things take time. These things take a lot of time. It's a good step going to visit your mother's grave and your wife's grave.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: About 152 people died. Only 25 bodies were identified. And of the 25 that were identified, Bahia's mother was one of them. (INAUDIBLE) And that's very important.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): He said, "Hello. What is your daughter's name?"
I said, "Her name is Bahia."
Your feelings are torn between your daughter, who is alive, and your wife, who is dead.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My mother went through what you went through.
BAHIA BAKARI, CRASH SURVIVOR (through translator): Do you have any (INAUDIBLE) from the accident?
G. LAMSON: I was burned on my right hand here. And this here is later on. This is from sunburn. But, here, this is the burn here. My face was burned. I had a cut on my forehead.
BAKARI (through translator): I have one here, here on my neck, and this one, but it's very small.
G. LAMSON: What was that like being by yourself out there for nine hours? And can you explain that?
BAKARI (through translator): I thought all the passengers arrived safely, including my mother. That helped me hold on (INAUDIBLE) told myself they will come look for me very soon. When I got to the hospital, there was a woman. I asked her, "Where is my mother?"
She said, "Your mother is not here. I don't know if they found her."
I did many things with my mother. I most went shopping with her. (INAUDIBLE) it anymore.
G. LAMSON: Trying to remember your family is really a good thing to help heal. Like, with my father, I try to remember my father in positive things.
BAKARI: When I think of my mother, I start to cry.
G. LAMSON: Even though it makes you cry, it helps you move on.
BAKARI: Yes, but when I cry, it's not like I can stop. (INAUDIBLE) I will cry for half-an-hour without stopping.
H. LAMSON: When I saw Bahia cry, that like really made me sad, because she lost like everything and her mom and she's only like 14.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (SPEAKING FRENCH)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She would like to say something.
BAKARI (through translator): I find you are very nice. You said that with all your heart.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you.
H. LAMSON: I love you.
G. LAMSON: I love you guys. I love you too. I feel very fortunate.
H. LAMSON: Bahia got me this necklace right here, and I got her the same one because her favorite color was pink. She has like the same characteristics as me. So it's like kind of weird seeing myself in her, you know? Bahia and her dad are like really close, like me and him, so it's kind of ironic how we're both the same.
G. LAMSON: I'm George. Nice to meet you.
I think of you as family now. I'm going to get it, I promise. I'm going to practice French.
BAKARI (through translator): Now I have got to pay more attention in my English classes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (SPEAKING FRENCH)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In the predawn darkness, the plane with 50 people on board began racing down the wrong runway. Eleven seconds into the roll, with the jet gathering speed, the co-pilots suspected trouble. "That is weird with no lights," he said. "Yeah," responded the captain.
AMY CLAY, PILOT'S WIDOW: What they imply is, well, Jesus Christ, if he thought it was weird, why didn't they -- they could have stopped at that point. Why didn't they stop? Well, he wasn't -- it wasn't like, oh, my God, that's weird. It was, check that out. That is really kind of strange.
NELSON: When Jim came in to when he flew into the airport two nights earlier, there were problems with the runway lights. The lights on the right side of the runway were not working.
POLEHINKE: That night, I made a comment to the captain, there are no lights lit up. How are we supposed to find the runway? It's like flying into a black hole, which we knew where we were, so -- and we had no issues or no problems coming in that night and flying and landing.
But at the same time, I now already have a preconceived notion that there are no lights lit up to identify runways.
CLAY: So they had several notices informing them that there would be lights out on their runway, so they completely expected to see a dark runway. That's what they were told. If you walk into a room, and somebody said, oh, the lightbulb is out, and you turn it on and the lamp doesn't come on, are you shocked? No, because I just told you the light's out.
POLEHINKE: That's as big as you are tall. And I'm glad, actually, I think God gave me a couple extra inches, because if I didn't have the reach, I would be in big trouble. The memorial, five years, they have a statue of the 49 doves, which was very well done. It is 49 birds taking off, upward motion, and they spread out. And I will show you a video of it.
It affected everything, because everything that I knew that was normal prior to August 27 was not normal anymore. Just, everything changed. And the first couple of years were probably not good years.
BAKARI: He was just emotionally devastated, ruined. But he still, like he says, goes back. There's times he doesn't get out of bed for a week. And people don't know that, even now. So it hits him like it was yesterday.
POLEHINKE: Just getting acclimated to my new body was hard.
G. LAMSON: I think I connected with Bahia real closely, because she reminded me of you. She really liked you. And in the end, the thing is that, you know, when she bonded with you, I felt like she bonded with me, because you're part of me.
H. LAMSON: Yes. The last time I talked to her, it was kind of how is it, saying, well, we miss each other and stuff.
G. LAMSON: Survivor's guilt is a monster. I still have not figured out how to completely absolve myself from that burden.
There are so many people in one area in Minneapolis-St. Paul and the surrounding area that had people on this flight.
I'm pretty sure it's here.
I have been a little fearful of meeting relatives of this -- of this tragedy, because I was afraid that they would judge me, you know, being that I was the only one to walk away from this accident without loss of my life. I mean, there would be some high expectations of me to be somebody I may not be.
I love you.
Meeting up with other people that have lost people and are in our accident might help me out quite a bit.
CLAY: The hearing was -- was -- to say it was a difficult day is just such an understatement.
MARK ROSENKER, FORMER CHAIRMAN, NATIONAL TRANSPORTATION SAFETY BOARD: Welcome to the boardroom of the National Transportation Safety Board.
CLAY: We expected to hear that there was a certain amount of responsibility riding with the pilots. That's the way that it is. That's the way that it goes. We were well-prepared for that.
What we did not expect was for there to be nothing else.
ROSENKER: The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of this accident was the flight crew member's failure to use available cues and aids to identify the airplane's location when the airport surfaced during taxi and their failure to crosscheck and verify that the airplane was on the correct runway before takeoff.
PRUCHNICKI: You could actually hear an audible gasp. Most of the investigative team was all sitting there, making eyes like, can you believe they just said that?
CLAY: They literally threw out the fact that all of their directional information was wrong in the first five minutes.
ROSENKER: And I scratch my head to understand, after the thousands of takeoffs that these men have done, over the hours that they have been flying, how they couldn't see the difference at the moment they were beginning, as they lined up on the runway.
CLAY: They referred to them as these two cowboys, which just, I mean, really? Really? I mean, is that necessary? This is supposed to be a professional environment. That's how you talk?
PRUCHNICKI: The NTSB actually put up two photos, one of what it looked like down Runway 2-6 and one of what it looked like down Runway 2-2 and actually had the audacity to make the comment, look at these two pictures. How could they have gotten it wrong?
I'm willing to bet that if the crew had those two picture to choose from, they would have chose the right one. It was not a matter of choosing between two different choices. It was a matter of why they thought they were in the position they were. That should have been the focus.
NELSON: There were too many times that I really wanted to stand up and go, how can you say that?
CLAY: And I listened to them dismiss the tower from the whole thing.
And I got up and walked out. I didn't know what to do, the fact that I couldn't -- I couldn't say anything. I couldn't go, wait a minute. None of us could say anything. You couldn't question anything. But I got up and I walked out.
NELSON: The NTSB is mandated by Congress to find a cause of the accident.
PRUCHNICKI: We're actually one of the last industrial nations to determine a single probable cause.
HERSMAN: When Congress created us, one of the things that they asked us to do was to determine the probable cause. That's been a part of our statute for over 40 years.
PRUCHNICKI: And when you look at a complex accident like this, you can't look at one individual thing. You have to look at the interactions.
Once we can put in that term pilot error, it makes us feel better we found out what went wrong. We don't need to look any further. We have our scapegoat and we can all take comfort in the system and move forward from here.
NELSON: This person is bad. This person did a bad thing. If I just remove them from the system now, it made it safer.
We've gotten what we also typically term the low-hanging fruit. The easy stuff to fix. We can't take all the pilots out, so we need to move so that we can actually create real safety.
Human error is a symptom of something much deeper in the system that is not correct. Until we recognize that, we're going to have a really hard time bettering the system. Congress has to act and say, "We will change our NTSB charter and we will say, now you need to find the contributors, rather than going after a single cause."
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I do not think this accident was due to pilot error. This was a complex warning, and there were numerous little things that went wrong. And the margin of safety was eroded by all of them to the point where the system became brittle and broke.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And I'm sorry for everyone who has that empty space at the table and that empty spot at a Christmas tree. And I'm just sorry. Sorry is just not a big enough word.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can honestly say to her, I'm sorry that she's had to live through what we've had to live through. Because long and short, she lost somebody, too.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you know if this is an experimental plane? It's getting ready to take off. But these others, they're just experimental planes.
At a certain speed, we pulled back on another piece of equipment, and the next thing you know, we're off the ground and we're flying, which I just believe is a gift that has been given to us. It is feasible to be in a wheelchair, to still be able to fly as long as you have met all the requirements the FAA has, you know, required of you. Medical and then equipment and stuff like that. But no, my commercial aviation career is pretty much done.
GEORGE LAMSON JR., SURVIVOR: Hey, it's me. Yes, I'm coming up to Minneapolis. I'll be up there in about a month. December right after Christmas.
I'm driving over Christmas for the first time in 22 years. I always felt a little hole in myself when I thought about family meetings during the holidays. And it's hard, and on top of that, I'm going to meet victims' families. The last time I spoke to somebody that was a victim or had a family member pass away in the accident was back in 1987. I'm afraid that if I -- if I showed myself to the person and -- I could upset them more than they already are.
I didn't jump out of the gates and make a success out of my life right away. I thought they'd be angry for me, because their family members may have rebounded quicker or made their life better quicker. I just didn't know how to deal with the judgment of somebody that was in grief.
No matter how bad your situation is, it's always somebody else that has it worse than you. And I think it's important that people reach out to one another and help each other out.
DANIEL MONROE, LOST PARENTS ON GALAXY 263: Well, I'm Dan Monroe. And my mom and dad, Dave and Arlene Monroe, were both on the flight and died simultaneously in the crash. This is my wife, Sue, who I met four months after the crash.
You live in the twin cities?
LAMSON: I live in Reno.
MONROE: Oh, you live in Reno.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You went out there and stayed out there?
LAMSON: I stayed out there.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you ever drive on that highway that you landed on?
MONROE: I remember waking up at 5 when my alarm went off on that Monday morning, and they said there's been a terrible plane crash in Reno. And I said, "Mom and Dad are gone."
LAMSON: Hello, Sarah.
SARAH FUECKER, LOST FAMILY ON GALAXY CRASH: Nice to meet you.
LAMSON: Nice to meet you, too.
FUECKER: There was quite a bit I didn't know at the time even, so -- you know, I always thought that my path would cross with George's, and that we would have the opportunity to talk. My parents and my grandparents were on the Galaxy crash.
JEAN KOSKI, LOST HUSBAND ON GALAXY CRASH: You know, I'm so happy to see you, George.
LAMSON: Likewise. How are you?
I wish I had had the courage to come to you 20 years ago.
J. KOSKI: Well, I'm glad you're here now.
LAMSON: Thank you.
J. KOSKI: And my husband, Bill Koski, was on the plane.
KRISTEN KOSKI, LOST FATHER IN GALAXY CRASH: For my 21st birthday, my dad took me to a dude ranch, and this is out on the front porch of that dude ranch.
This was out of my dad's wallet. Here's another one of them.
LAMSON: He had this with him on the...
K. KOSKI: Uh-huh.
LAMSON: ... on the plane? I wish I just could say, "Ah, I remember."
MONROE: There was a lot of people on the plane.
LAMSON: I know I interacted with just about everybody on that plane in one way or the other.
It was Super Bowl Sunday, and we ended up watching the game in the theater at Caesar's Palace. And everybody is laughing, and we're having a good time.
We drove in and we headed into the terminal, and spirits were high, you know. It was getting close to 1 in the morning, West Coast time.
I got on the plane. I took the first seat I could get, sat down. My dad sat next to me, and not too long after that, two guys come up to us and say, "Hey, you're in our seats." And my dad didn't take no for an answer very good or didn't like confrontation, so he'd stand up to people. But his initial and only reaction was, "Yes, no problem. We'll get up for you."
And it was just totally weird. I didn't want to get up. I was like, "Come on. You let these guys push us around?"
He said, "No, let's get up and let's go."
J. KOSKI: Did you all have assigned seats at that time?
LAMSON: No, it was free seating.
How hard was the impact? Do you remember that?
I do. But I only have my point of view. I mean, it was sudden. I'm extremely flexible, so I was able to put my legs up as far as I could to, to protect my face. I didn't everything I could to live. I wanted to live. I think everybody else on the plane did too. But by some miracle I ended up flying out onto the street, and I thought I was -- I thought I was in heaven. That I died. And then I turned my head and saw a billboard. I said, I'm not dead, I've got to get up.
K. KOSKI: You know, I question what now? Who is my family? Of course, I have other family, but you know, where do I go? How do I -- you know? J. KOSKI: So for you then, you just struggle with survivor guilt?
LAMSON: Later that year, they dropped a ton of money in my lap and said here you go. This is for the loss of your father. I was all of a sudden happy again, because I could focus on having fun rather than thinking about what happened and what my promise was. I mean, that was in the back of my head the whole time. I made a promise to God that I was going to do good and be a force of his will.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You survived.
FUECKER: And I just can't imagine anyone judging you. Everybody is very glad to see that 17-year-old boy smiling.
LAMSON: When I was sitting in those news conferences with a big grin on my face, what were you thinking?
FUECKER: You're probably happy to be alive.
LAMSON: Good. That's what I was feeling.
J. KOSKI: It's very good to see you.
I just, you know, your dad would have been glad to see his kid made it.
LAMSON: When I come to Minnesota, one thing I always try to do is pay my respects to my father.
The reason why I moved to Reno is because it's the last place I saw my father alive. My father meant a lot to me and just being close to where he was kind of gives me comfort to know that I'm there with him.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're out at Kingland, which is right across the street from Blue Grass (ph) Airport where the accident occurred. Kingland has been always a big part of my mom's life because of the horses that she dealt with. Her and her sister would come out here during these meets and the sales and just sit there and watch the horses all day long.
She, back in her earlier years, took her horse and snuck in on the track and took her horse for a lap. Upon doing it, one of the guards or maintenance men caught her and they threatened to take her horse. And my aunt said she put up a fight saying they weren't going to take her horse from her.
From what I gather, I'm thinking she jumped over the rail. She couldn't have snuck in any other way. So she got the horse through the railing and then just took it for the full mile and a half lap around this track and for her, I'd say that was probably a highlight in her life.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He had the most fatalistic attitude. It was all about a death wish. Angry, angry, angry. And wouldn't get out of bed. We used to call it going over to the dark side. He was over in the dark side much more than ever the light side.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If I'm not doing something and I'm not involved with an activity, my mind goes back to August 27, 2006, because there are a lot of "why" questions that are not answered. And probably will never get answered, just because. So I just continually, with my wife's support, do things that I'm actively involved with that have my mind on that instead of on the accident.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I always tried to look for things for him to do, the biking, the whatever. And it got to where we were sort of, there' nothing -- in Florida, he got the bike, and I see the skiing thing, the adaptability skiing thing and I made the reservation before he could say no. We were there five days. That is the happiest, longest period of time he's been happy in five years. It was amazing to watch.
And I said, that's it. That's the ticket. Went home, put the house on the market, and that's why we're here. So we're talking five months out of almost six years that he finally has a reason to get up every day.
Regardless of how catastrophic one's event might be, you can still push forward. My goal is to go to the Paralympics. So to have this goal in front of me, it's a feeling you can't describe. I've taken steps and I've strived to do -- go forward. I don't want to destroy my marriage; I don't want it to destroy me. And I want to be a role model for other people that are at that crossroads. And might not have hope, might not have the belief that things will get better. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LAMSON: Two days after my trip to France, Bahia took off and flew to the Palmos Islands from Paris, and she was able to fulfill what she wanted to do, and she didn't let her fears get the best of her.
GRAPHIC: Bahia and Kassim are making plans to visit George in Reno this summer.
Cecilia was planning to attend the 25th anniversary of the Northwest 255 Memorial Tribute.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The media has kind of quieted down over the years. Usually around -- maybe at the beginning of August every year, I kind of maybe get an e-mail or a phone call or something.
My family was really cautious about keeping the media away and keeping my life private, because there's so much that could go wrong with being in the spotlight.
GRAPHIC: Cecilia did not attend the memorial... At least not when others were there.
LAMSON: They may not get it this year, but they're on the top of this video. She earned her way on the team, too. I mean, all these girls that are on it are pretty much have been together for a while. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The depression has gone away quite a bit. I mean, he's actually like opening up and not closing everything in a bottle anymore.
LAMSON: This 27th anniversary of the accident felt very different than the others because I was able to communicate with so many people that I haven't communicated with before. Because I've been separated from the others.
These people made me feel as though I was part of a community, and that was something that burdened me for years, because I was afraid that I would be judged harshly for not making the most of my life.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: His diet has changed a lot. He's been losing a lot of weight. He's focusing more on, like, his goals, his life-long goals and taking care of me. I think he feels more happy. He's not holding in anymore, you know? He's like not denying (ph) his own health.
GRAPHIC: After George's trip to Minneapolis, he connected with a woman who lost her parents on his flight. They have started dating.
And George continues to connect with other survivors.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: George, one of the other sole survivors is coming over. I haven't met him yet, and anticipating that, just to see if we have any differences, any opinions. Just what's on his mind, what's on my mind.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm really hoping the Paralympic thing happens. I don't care if it's on the moon.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's almost a Job-type feeling, biblical wise. Everything was taken from him, everything. He always had his faith. He always had his belief, more positiveness than the negativity. Because the negativity can just suck you in.
LAMSON: I've been there.
GRAPHIC: In loving memory of Pamela Patal and Carson Paela (ph).