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OVERSEAS NATIONAL AIRWAYS CREW WEB

HEY HEY ONA!

SARAH UZZELL RINDLAUB


ONA crew reunion August 
2003 at Margie Mostue
Loomis´ cabin at 
Fallen Leaf Lake 

The big photo from 
l to r bottom row, 

Sarah Uzzell Rindlaub, 

John Rindlaub, 

Margi Mostue Loomis, 

Marjaleena Vaisanen 
Schatan, 

Kathy Newmann Ziomek, 

left to right
back row:  

Chris Porras, 

Mary Anne Pryor, 

Jean Delehaunty Chard, 

Linda Graves DeBartolo, 

Gail Bush,

Marilyn Porras, 

Ruth Perkins, 

Ron Ziomek.







PEOPLE Magazine

The complete article is cited from
People Magazine Archives.
September 22, 1980 Vol. 14 No. 12

Airline Safety Instructor
Sarah Uzzell-Rindlaub Is Proof
That Passengers Can Survive a Crash
By Sarah Moore Hall


Information submitted by Tony Destro

ONA JFK BIRD STRIKE NOVEMBER 1975 - 
DOCUMENTATION PROJECT BY TONY DESTRO 

When former stewardess Sarah Uzzell-Rindlaub 
teaches airline crew members how to survive a 
crash, they know they are listening to an expert. 
Her very presence confirms it. Statistically, a 
stewardess should be involved in an accident 
only once every 500 years, yet Uzzell-Rindlaub 
survived two of them in seven weeks. Her faith 
in the law of averages may have been shaken; 
her confidence in airline evacuation procedures 
was not. 

Her first brush with death took place on Nov. 12, 
1975, when the DC-10 she was flying on to Saudi 
Arabia ran into a flock of seagulls while taking 
off from New York. An engine exploded and the 
right wing caught fire, but all 139 Overseas 
National Airways employees aboard escaped unharmed 
within 55 seconds. Seven weeks later she was 
working on another DC-10, this one taking 364 
religious pilgrims from Mecca to Turkey, when the 
plane landed short of the runway at Istanbul, spun 
around 180 degrees and caught fire. Incredibly, 
most of the passengers had never flown before and 
seemed to consider the landing a normal one. "They 
just stood up and started collecting things," 
Uzzell-Rindlaub remembers. "They didn't want to get 
off. We led them away and they came right back to 
get their baggage. Finally we just had to shove 
people off the plane." Evacuation that time took a 
full five minutes, but no one was badly hurt. 

Raised in Bryn Mawr, Pa., Uzzell-Rindlaub graduated 
from Agnes Scott College in Decatur, Ga. Her interest 
in aviation safety was kindled on a flight home from 
Georgia when passengers were warned of a possible 
emergency landing. "I realized my life suddenly 
depended on what the flight attendant was telling 
me," she recalls. "I really listened, and I was 
fascinated." Hired as a stewardess in 1968, she 
later became a self-schooled expert in air safety 
procedures. While working for Overseas National in 
1977, she was asked to testify before a congressional 
subcommittee. After the hearings, United Airlines hired 
her to train its employees in survival. Today she 
conducts classes for United crews at New York's La 
Guardia Airport and instructs personnel from other 
airlines as well. 

Nothing annoys Uzzell-Rindlaub, 35, more than the 
refusal of some passengers to take stewardesses 
seriously. "We are not flying waitresses," she 
points out. "We're there because the FAA requires 
trained personnel on all flights to man the exits in 
case of a crash." Lives can only be saved with the 
cooperation of well-informed passengers. "We all know 
that if a plane slams into a mountain there's nothing 
to be done," says Uzzell-Rindlaub, "but most airline 
accidents happen on take-off or landing, and most are 
survivable. What frequently happens is negative panic—
people just sit and watch the cabin fill with smoke. 
They die of smoke inhalation. Over and over again 
bodies are found without a scratch, often with the 
seat belts still fastened." 

She has learned that the most difficult passengers are 
often the most experienced—the "million-mile machos," 
she calls them, who won't pay attention to safety 
briefings. "First or second-time fliers are more likely 
to survive," she says. "They're more scared or more 
curious, and they listen. Every plane is different—the 
exits work differently—and knowing what separates you 
from an exit could save your life." 

Since speed is of the essence in survival, 
Uzzell-Rindlaub urges that carry-on luggage be kept to a 
minimum and that the feet always be free of obstructions. 
"Also," she says, "how you use your seat belt can be the 
difference between life and death. It should be low, 
across your hip bones and tight enough so you have to sit 
up straight. At any sound of twisting or breaking metal, 
assume one of the brace positions, and remember there is 
almost always more than one impact. Don't move until the 
plane comes to a complete stop. If there's smoke, get down 
and crawl with your head at armrest level so the fumes can 
rise around you." 

What's the safest place to sit in a plane? It's a toss-up, 
she says. "If the plane smashes into something, the people 
up front get hurt. If there's fire, those in the middle are 
in the most dangerous place. In some crashes, the tail 
shears off. So it doesn't matter. Sit anywhere." Does she 
prefer any particular type of plane when she flies? "I admit 
I was a bit nervous after my second crash," she says, "but 
I've seen what a plane can go through, and the DC-10 has the 
best safety exits of any airliner today. I feel safer on it 
than any other. Anyway," she adds with a grin, "I figure I've 
used up my chances of being in a crash." 




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