Sole survivors of large plane crashes – Large plane crashes with only one survivor are very rare.
Cecelia Cichan was only 4 years old in 1987 when she became the sole survivor of Northwest Airlines Flight 225. The Detroit crash claimed the lives of 154 crew and passengers, including Cecelia's parents and her brother. Although she reportedly suffered severe burns in the disaster, Cecelia remembers nothing from her traumatic experience.
Crash debris strewn along the road – Cecelia was aboard an MD-82 airliner heading to Phoenix. The flight crew failed to set the plane's flaps and slats correctly for takeoff, according to the National Transportation Safety Board. It went down shortly after takeoff from Detroit's airport. Debris scattered along a road near the airport immediately after the crash.
'Where I've come from' – Now an adult, Cichan tattooed her wrist "as a reminder of where I've come from. ... So many scars were put on my body against my will."
He made a pact with God – In 1985, 17-year-old George Lamson Jr. and his father changed seats aboard Galaxy Airlines Flight 203 moments before it took off and crashed in Reno, Nevada. No one knows whether that decision saved the teen's life. As the plane went down, Lamson made a pact with God that if he survived, he would work to do good and help others. The young Lamson lost his father in the crash. Now a father himself, Lamson says he tries every day to honor that promise.
He walked away from this – Immediately after the crash, Lamson woke not far from the plane wreckage, still strapped into his seat. Because his injuries were relatively minor, he was able to walk away from the scene. In the years since the disaster, Lamson has struggled with survivor's guilt.
She held on for hours – French schoolgirl Bahia Bakari was the only survivor of a 2009 plane crash off the Comoros Islands. The crash of the Airbus A310 claimed the lives of 152 people, including her mother.
Coastal search – While rescuers searched nearby coastline, Bahia clung to a piece of wreckage in the Indian Ocean for more than nine hours. "Then I heard some shouting, 'Come here!' Bahia remembers. She saw a boat and swam toward it. "Then a man jumped in the water and grabbed me and brought me back in the boat." Bahia was saved.
Co-pilot Jim Polehinke – In 2006, investigators blamed Comair Flight 5191's crew, including co-pilot and sole survivor Jim Polehinke, for taking off on the wrong Lexington, Kentucky, runway. The blame pushed him "over to a dark, angry place," his wife said.