Stranded By The Attacks, Local Woman Still Not Afraid To Fly

IN MEMORY

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September 11, 2001

Jackie Larson, now 45, lives in Payson with her mother, Barbara Bubnis, the owner of Barbara's Boutique. She is a special needs adult who has been determined to function at the level of a 10 or 12 year old. Still, Jackie travels by air quite a bit normally alone on direct flights, using the airlines' "meet and assist" policy.

The morning of Sept. 11, Jackie was at Newark International Airport, boarding a 7:10 a.m. Continental Airlines flight to Phoenix. At the same airport, at about the same time, United Airlines Flight 93 was boarding passengers for San Francisco.

Instead, that plane would soon crash in a wooded area near Shanksville, Penn.

Two hours into Jackie's five-hour trip, the Federal Aviation Commission commanded all commercial flights to land at the nearest airport.

Barbara called Continental Airlines and was told that Jackie had been routed to Tampa, Fla. Meantime, Jackie's stepfather had been told Jackie was in Kansas City, Mo., which turned out to be true.

Based on conversations she had with Continental employees, Barbara pieced together her daughter's adventure:

Jackie had become hysterical on the plane. Realizing that she was a special needs passenger, a flight attendant named Marilyn took Jackie under her wing and checked the both of them into adjoining rooms at the Kansas City Hilton Hotel.

At dinnertime, Marilyn took Jackie down to the hotel restaurant, where she ate with the captain and crew.

By that evening, Barbara finally got to talk with her daughter on the phone, and Jackie's sister was on her way to Kansas City from Houston, Texas.

Thirteen hours after her whereabouts were finally discovered, Jackie was back in the arms of a loved one.

September 11, 2002

Asked how the events of one year ago affected her daughter, Bubnis laughed as she replied, "Jackie's really not too much different, but her mother is different. She hasn't been on a plane since she came home and that's been by my choice, not hers. Jackie has no fear. She absolutely would not mind flying alone."

Jackie is planning to fly to Houston in October to see her sister, and at the moment she's planning to travel solo.

"But I think I'm going to fly there with her," Bubnis said.

According to her mother, Jackie remembers Sept. 11 "absolutely, and she tells everybody about it." And since then, Continental Airlines Flight Attendant Marilyn Teixeira "has become like part of our family. We communicate with her all the time. And whenever we're in Houston and her flight is coming through, she'll stay overnight with us at my daughter's house."

When Bubnis brought Jackie home from Houston on an airplane last October, she said, "I think she was a little apprehensive, even with me being with her ... But this was a little more than a month after Sept. 11, and I think everybody was a little nervous then. But Jackie was fine once we landed in Phoenix. She was very, very happy to be home."

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