Singapore—Speaking to The Straits Times (ST), a former SIA flight attendant who sustained severe burns in a 2000 place crash sent an encouraging message to Ms Raybe Oh Siew Huey, who had run into a burning car in an attempt to rescue her fiancé.
Madam Farzana Abdul Razak, 31, has a special understanding of the long road of healing ahead for Ms Oh who, she said, needs to concentrate on healing her body and mind.
Now based in Kuala Lumpur, Madam Farzana had been working for four months with Singapore Airlines when the flight she was on, Flight 006, crashed during take-off in Taipei on Oct 31, 2000.
Eighty-three out of the 179 people on board were killed in the mishap.
Madam Farzana was only 18 years old at the time. After escaping the wreckage, she and other SIA staff assisted in evacuating the passengers from the rear part of the plane.
She did not realise the extent of her injuries as she felt no pain. One of the passengers, who was a doctor, told her she needed hospitalisation because of her burns.
Madam Farzana needed treatment for burns on 45 per cent of her body, internal bleeding, and smoke inhalation.
ST reports that what she thought were just burnt parts of her stockings turned out to be her own skin that had peeled off.
For the next two months, she underwent treatment in hospitals in Taiwan and Singapore.
Her healing continued for the next few years, as she needed to wear pressure garments and undergo 11 skin grafts.
Regarding Ms Oh, who is also a former flight attendant, Madam Farzana told ST, “I don’t know the extent of her injuries but I know she is a strong woman. Right now, she needs to focus only on healing her body and mind.”
Ms Oh, 26, sustained severe burns on 80 per cent of her body in her effort to get to her fiancé, Mr Jonathan Long, 29. He died, along with four of his friends, in a crash that occurred on Feb 13.
He had been driving his friends in his BMW at a speed estimated to be faster than 200 kmh/hr when he lost control of his vehicle and crashed into a shophouse in Tanjong Pagar.
Ms Oh spent 10 days in the Intensive Care Unit at Singapore General Hospital. On Feb 23 she was reported to be in a conscious and in stable condition and was moved to a high-dependency ward.
Through her interview with ST, Madam Farzana sent a message to Ms Oh.
“What I want to share with her is not to lose hope and blame yourself for all that has gone wrong. The healing process will be a long one but you must want to get better for yourself.”
The survivor of the 2000 plane crash suffered from depression for eight years after the mishap, finding the scars from her injuries difficult to deal with. She also had to deal with “survivor’s guilt,” since four co-workers perished in the crash.
She told ST, ”There were times I felt they were at peace while I was not.”
She also had to face the reality of no longer working in her dream job as an SIA stewardess.
Today, Madam Farzana is married and a mother of three, and works in a loss adjustment firm as an administrative assistant.
Time, she said, is key.
“I realised there was more to life than living selfishly in the past. I’ve learned all wounds heal over time — emotional scars too.”
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