Love Was In The Air On Miracle Flight 1549

Laura Zych never liked birds. Ben Bostic feared drowning. They faced their fears when US Airways Flight 1549 hit a flock of geese and crash-landed in the Hudson River.

They were strangers on January 15, 2009, when they boarded the fateful flight that would become known as the "Miracle on the Hudson." A year later, they're in love.

"The first time people meet you, they want to hear the sensational part" of the crash, says Ben, 39.
He prefers to talk about something different: "I met this wonderful girl because of what we went through that day."

Laura, 31, looks at him, batting her model-like lashes, and smiles. "We don't dwell on what happened to us in the crash," she says. "It's more so on the experiences and lessons that we've taken from it."

A buyer for Belk department stores, Laura was in New York for the fashion market. With the nation in the thick of recession, she scooped up bargains for herself. She carried her trendy purchases through the airport that day on her return home to Charlotte, North Carolina.

Wearing a sweater dress, tights and boots, the woman with stylish sandy brown curls was getting a bite to eat when a group of guys asked if she was a model.

"No," she said. "But I am in the fashion industry."

She was traveling with five Belk co-workers. Waiting to board, she fired off e-mails and thought little of the flight home or those around her.

Ben -- who was in New York for a quick business trip for Lending Tree -- caught a glimpse of the 5-foot, 10-inch knockout near the gate. Later, when they boarded, he noticed her again, coming down the aisle. "The first thought I had was it'll be cool if she sits beside me."

He was in 20A, a window seat on the left side of the plane. She sat down three rows in front of him, in 17D, on the aisle... The rest is history, as they say.

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By Wayne Drash