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USAir/ Hudson River F/A did *NOT* Open Door: NTSB & Pax Who Speculated So Apologize

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Voice Of Reason

Reading Is Fundamental !
Sep 21, 2004
USAir/ Hudson River F/A did *NOT* Open Door: NTSB & Pax Who Speculated So Apologize

Now that her rep has been ruined in the nat'l press (and certain message boards)....
"Official apologizes to attendant on flight that ditched
Tuesday, June 09, 2009
By Torsten Ove, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
A board member with the National Transportation Safety Board has apologized to a flight attendant from Beaver County after he was quoted last week saying that a passenger aboard a plane that crashed in the Hudson River would contradict her statement that a panicked passenger had tried to open the plane's rear door.
Robert Sumwalt was quoted by The Associated Press as saying the passenger, Billy Campbell, was being called to testify today at a public hearing into the crash in Washington, D.C., to contradict statements made by Doreen Welsh, 57, of Economy, the flight attendant in the rear of the plane.
Ms. Welsh has said a panicked passenger pushed past her and tried to open the door, cracking it slightly, as water rushed into the rear of the plane from a hole in the fuselage.
Testifying today, Mr. Campbell described Ms. Welsh as a hero and said she told him at a reunion several weeks later about the panicked passenger. Mr. Sumwalt had told the AP that his written statement prior to the hearing suggested Ms. Welsh opened the door herself, but Mr. Campbell said nothing of the kind and instead complimented her on her professionalism. He was called to testify because he had the most detailed account of what happened in the back of the plane, the NTSB said.
The AP story was carried in papers across the country, including the Beaver County Times, angering Ms. Welsh.
"The whole thing is ridiculous," she said on Monday from her home. "The NTSB made a mistake."
She promised that the record would be set straight today at the hearing. Ms. Welsh said this morning that she was relieved that the mistake has been corrected and that the issue is behind her.
Mr. Sumwalt apologized to Mr. Campbell and to Ms. Welsh, although he did not name her.
More details in tomorrow's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
First published on June 9, 2009 at 12:07 pm"
I believe the onrush of water in the rear of the aircraft came from structural failure in the aft cabin compartment--

In todays USA Today, it says the FAA/NTSB is looking to see if the stuctural requirements of todays aircraft is sufficient for ditching (to allow for sufficient time to evacuate the airplane) and whether or not more life rafts are required (since the rear life rafts were rendered useless because the doors couldn't be opened)... ummm, I'd say if the FAA/NTSB had their way for every contingency we'd all be flying the Spruce Goose!!!
Maybe the NTSB should keep their ffing mouths shut until the investigation is done?
from www.aircrewbuzz.com:

"Tuesday, June 09, 2009

NTSB hearing: Passenger testimony vindicates US Airways flight attendant

by B. N. Sullivan

From time to time I have chided the mainstream news media for rampant speculation regarding aircraft accident investigations, and for accusatory statements about crew members who are in no position to publicly defend themselves. This is one of those times.

Moreover, in this instance an official of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) allegedly made statements about a crew member's behavior that were untrue, fueling the fire. He, of all people, should know better.

Several days ago as I was browsing stories on Google News, I came across the following title: Witness to challenge flight attendant's story. I clicked on it, and found it was an Associated Press (AP) story about the NTSB's public hearing on US Airways Flight 1549, the Airbus A320 that ditched in the Hudson River back in January.

The lead paragraph of the AP story implied that a passenger from the accident flight would testify at the NTSB hearing that "it was a flight attendant — not a panicked passenger — who opened a rear door on the aircraft, sending water rushing into the cabin."

I have to tell you, I was flabbergasted. I could hardly take in what I was reading!

The story of what happened on board that airplane on the afternoon of January 15, 2009 is well known by now. There have been countless newspaper and magazine write-ups about the 'splash landing' of Flight 1549 into the Hudson River, and the subsequent successful evacuation and rescue of all 150 passengers and five crew members.

The two pilots and three flight attendants have told their story during numerous interviews on TV. Most notably, they also gave testimony before Congress about what they experienced that day.

Was it possible that a conflicting version of what transpired was soon to be revealed for the first time? I just couldn't believe it. It made no sense.

Yet there it was again, further along in the AP article: "Board member Robert Sumwalt, who will chair the hearing, said that [passenger] Campbell has told NTSB investigators that it was flight attendant Doreen Welsh who cracked open the door, not a passenger." Mr. Sumwalt is vice chairman of the NTSB.

I just couldn't believe that Ms. Welsh, a veteran flight attendant with 39 years of service, had done such a thing. Yesterday I mentioned the story to a flight attendant who is a member of my family. Her reaction was similar to mine: she was incredulous.

My thoughts flew to Doreen Welsh. The only crew member on the flight to have been physically injured, it has been reported that she also has suffered from post-traumatic stress. I could only imagine how devastated she would feel once this new accusation began to circulate. And of course the story did circulate. In no time, other news outlets picked it up, parroting what the AP article had said.

The NTSB hearing got underway this morning, moderated by Robert Sumwalt. Capt. Chesley 'Sully' Sullenberger, the pilot in command of US Airways Flight 1549, was the first to testify. He told his story once more, and near the end of his testimony he pointedly praised his crew -- all of them -- for their professionalism during the emergency.

Passenger Billy Campbell testified after Capt. Sullenberger. He explained that he had been sitting in seat 25A, a window seat in the second-to-last row of the aircraft. His testimony about what he saw and felt was detailed and evocative.

Mr. Campbell mentioned that after the geese hit the aircraft's engines, Doreen Welsh reassured the passengers in the rear of the plane that everything would be fine. Minutes later the aircraft hit the surface of the Hudson River tail first. Mr. Campbell described the impact as "violent" -- the same descriptor Doreen Welsh had used in several interviews..

Then came his much-anticipated testimony about what Doreen Welsh did next. He did NOT say she opened the door. On the contrary, Mr. Campbell stated that it was a woman passenger who rushed past the flight attendant and attempted to open the door.

Mr. Campbell said that Doreen Welsh intervened with the woman at the door, and at the same time forcefully shouted at the passengers in the aft section of the aircraft, urging them to move quickly to the forward exits to evacuate. He described the flight attendant as "courageous and direct."

In fact, rather than dispute what Doreen Welsh had said months earlier, this passenger's testimony at the NTSB hearing confirmed her story in every way. "She was heroic," he said.

So what's up with that insinuating AP article, and the statement attributed to Robert Sumwalt that impugned Doreen Welsh? Clearly someone spoke imprudently, to say the least.

Early this evening, KDKA in Pittsburgh reported that the NTSB had apologized to Doreen Welsh, and that NTSB spokesman Peter Knudsen "says the AP report was wrong."

"Billy Campbell never contradicted the account of the flight attendant that a passenger opened the rear door," Knudsen said.

Regarding the AP story and Sumwalt's comments, Doreen Welsh told KDKA, "It was very painful and very hurtful especially because I knew none of it was true."

She said of Billy Campbell, "His comments today meant the world to me - I appreciate them - and I thank him from the bottom of my heart." "

[Photo Source]
Posted by B. N. Sullivan at 15:35 0 comments Links to this post
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