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First Coast couple recalls being in 1985 plane crash in Dallas

12:22 AM, Jul 20, 2013   |    comments
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Just turning on the news for Debbie and Bob Katz after a plane crash is difficult.

"It brings back those little, minor details that you forget over time," said Bob Katz.

"It's something you yourself feel because you know what their families are going through while they're waiting for the news," said Debbie Katz. 

Their families went through the same thing on August 2, 1985 when the Delta flight they were on crashed in Dallas.

"The last thing I said to Debbie was to hold on, we're going to be OK," Bob said.

Severe weather caused the crash, and 137 people were killed. The plane split in half, and when Bob looked in the seat next to him, Debbie wasn't there.

"It was like a bread crumb trail. I found one picture that had been in her wallet of one of our children, and then another, and it just kept leading me until I finally found her," Bob said.

The impact broke her neck and she was in a coma for 5 days after the crash.

"I couldn't understand what he was saying because I was unable to imagine this was happening," Debbie said.

Debbie was paralyzed from the neck down, but after months of grueling physical therapy, she regained sensation in her right foot, and kept improving from there.

"The surgeon who told her that she'd never walk again or breathe again almost fell over when he saw her walking into the hospital," Bob said.

While she still depends on Bob to get around, they both say they're lucky to still have each other.

"I feel grateful that we survived and were able to go on all these years, and raise our children, have our grandchildren, we're very grateful for all of that," Bob said.

First Coast News

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