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Love In The Time Of Miracles

One year after a US Airways plane splash-landed into the frigid Hudson River in New York, romance has blossomed between two of the 155 passengers who were onboard the harrowing flight.  Ben Bostic and Laura
PTI January 16, 2010 12:23 IST
PTI

One year after a US Airways plane splash-landed into the frigid Hudson River in New York, romance has blossomed between two of the 155 passengers who were onboard the harrowing flight. 

Ben Bostic and Laura Zych became a couple after they met again at the six months anniversary party for the miraculous landing of US Airways Flight 1549.

In what became known as the Miracle on the Hudson, Captain Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger ditched his Airbus A320 in the river on January 15, 2009, after a collision with a flock of birds disabled the aircraft's engines.

All passengers onboard survived.  Speaking in an interview on the eve of the one year anniversary of the landing, Ben admitted he'd noticed Laura even before the flight, but as she had been sitting three rows up from him they never got a chance to talk, adding that if the plane hadn't gone down - he would forgotten about her.

Says  Ben Bostic "Until I boarded the flight, and she came down the aisle, I noticed her again, I was like well, you know she's on my flight. And it be cool if she could sit beside me but unfortunately, um, she sat like three rows up and again, that, that would have normally been the end of it. I probably, if you were to ask me like two months later, did you notice anybody on that flight, I'd, I would have probably never even remembered it. You know, I would have probably went on with my business, and the rest of the day would have been normal if it wasn't for, you know, the events of that day. And that kind of bonded us together for life."

"It's almost like for some of us, I've heard people say, it's like a first birthday celebration," Ben said ahead of Friday's anniversary.  "You know that second chance at life." 

Says  Laura Zych "One of the things that, that, has changed about how we, our perspective on how we live life is that we really take in everything that we can. So instead of saying "Oh, I am really tired, and it's, it's midnight", you say "Why not? I only live once". And I don't know what's going to happen tomorrow. And tomorrow is not guaranteed."

Adds Laura,  "When we walked in, when I walked in to our six month anniversary party, one of the other passengers who I knew already, he had said "Laura, have you met Ben?" And I said "No, but we're friends on Facebook", and then Ben said: "No, but I was checking her out on the plane."

On Friday, 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 some, still suffering the psychological aftereffects of their terrifying descent and harrowing evacuation. 

But others have spoken of a newfound appreciation for life and a focus on family, as some are struggling to regain their balance emotionally.  AP