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Flight 1549 survivors reach out to comfort, understand

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- When Steve met Pam, they were floundering in the icy Hudson River next to their hulking jet that had just crashed after takeoff.

He worried the plane would explode.

What should we do? Pam asked, splashing and grabbing for Steve.

He pointed toward the Manhattan skyline.


But a rescue came quickly: A raft. A ferry. A hospital. Then, goodbye.

In the days that followed, as the 155 passengers aboard Flight 1549 set about resuming their lives, Steve found comfort from his wife and two young kids. Still, he kept thinking about Pam.

Was she OK?

What did she remember?

Was there a slide? Why did they jump in the water?

He'd left his river-soaked business card with her at the hospital: Steve O'Brien, accounting executive.

But he didn't get her contact information, and never asked her last name. He needed to find her, to talk, to fill in the gaps.

The two shared what likely will be the most harrowing moments of their lives. Like so many other passengers, Steve, 44, grew anxious to reconnect. Yes, he was grateful to be alive. Yet Pam was the one person who really knew what he'd gone through.

Days after coming home, Steve started to search for her.

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