Attendant on Hudson River flight to retire
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A Beaver County flight attendant who was swept into the spotlight after surviving the crash of US Airways Flight 1549 into the Hudson River has retired.
Doreen Welsh, 59, of Ambridge, said she will pursue a career in public speaking, leaving behind four decades of flying.
"I've known for a while that I couldn't go back," said Ms. Welsh. "I thought I needed to end something so I could start something."
Ms. Welsh officially retired about a month ago, she said. US Airways announced her retirement today, along with the retirement of Flight 1549 Capt. Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger, who navigated the plane into the Hudson River in January 2009 after birds were sucked into its engines. Ms. Welsh was one of a handful of people on the plane who were injured.
Mr. Sullenberger flew his final flight this afternoon, ending his 30-year career when he landed at his home base in Charlotte Douglas International Airport.
Ms. Welsh said she has struggled with the idea of returning to the skies for more than a year. She became a flight attendant when she was 19.
"I was a baby. It was the only job I've ever had," she said.
But she was seriously injured in the crash, emerging with an L-shaped gash on her leg. She has spent the past year on leave and then on worker's compensation, traveling the country to speak at a whirlwind of engagements.
"Physically, I'm fine," she said. "I'm getting better. It's just a memory that's going to be with me forever."
First Published March 3, 2010 5:46 pm