Kelly Duncan, 23, of Miami began flying for Air Florida again last June. As she buckled herself into her flight attendant's jump seat for the trip to London, she says, she "felt a twinge of fear." But then she remembered a Bible passage she'd memorized (Philippians 4, verses 6-7) and flying hasn't bothered her since.
"You'd probably term me a born-again Christian," she says. "I don't mean to be obnoxious, but there it is."
The irony, she says, is that "a month or so before the accident someone . . . asked me if I accepted Christ. The question really ticked me off. I never was raised in any church. I didn't see religion made any difference . . . .
"But the whole time during the crash and while I was in the water I felt the situation was somehow under control. Even while I was really afraid.
"In the hospital I kept thinking 'What do I do now?' A nurse quoted some Bible passages to me and they seemed to explain so much. But I had never even picked up a Bible before . . . . And then--this is really weird--someone sent a Bible to my room . . . . Someone I didn't even know."
Now her physical injuries (fractured right hand and left ankle, deeply lacerated left thigh) are healed. She runs 1 1/2 miles a day; she's engaged to a Miami tennis professional she met at church last Easter and "I feel better than I ever have in my whole life."
She still remembers the bone-numbing cold of the Potomac ("worse than anyone can imagine") which left her body temperature too low to register initially on a hospital thermometer. And she worries about the families of those who died, who, he says, "are bound to resent it when they see my smiling face."
But she alone of the survivors has elected not to file a lawsuit asking damages from the crash. "I am just so extremely thankful to be here," she says. "My life is the best prize I could get."