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Flight attendant recounts chaos, panic at Lambert

5:37 PM, Apr 24, 2011   |    comments
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Connie Ladyman.

By Kasey Joyce

St. Louis, MO (KSDK) - Connie Ladyman wasn't even supposed to work on Friday. She was covering a co-worker's shift in the C Concourse when the wind and rain started picking up. At first, she thought nothing of it; but in a split second, everything changed.

"I prayed. I said, 'Dear God, I never thought I would die in a Frontier uniform," Ladyman said.

It was right around 8 p.m. on Friday night. Connie Ladyman was working the Frontier airlines desk for a flight to Milwaukee.

"The door started hissing and whistling and pressure started coming under the door. We said this seems unusual," she said.

Ladyman's coworker and a passenger ran to hold the door shut.

"My coworker says, 'I cannot hold this door any longer.' When they both moved, the steel door that was locked flew open. At that time I was standing by the computer. It literally picked me up. I'm 150 pounds," she said. "We all ran. There was a man looking out the window, he got glass on his front on his back. He had his shirt on ... I had a guy who was taken down there in a wheelchair. I've never seen a man run so fast in a walker in all my life."

They took shelter in the bathroom. Ladyman says it was all so surreal.

"It was just so quick," she said. "It was there was water pouring in, ceiling tiles falling. I said, 'How much am I getting paid to be in this movie?'"

This is the first time Ladyman has seen the airport since the storm. She's amazed at the progress clean-up crews have made, but she's still on edge.

"I'm a nervous wreck. I don't even want to go into our break room because of the glass and the tile," she said.

And the threat of more severe weather later this week has her feeling even more uneasy.

"I'm very scared. I'm very scared now," Ladyman said; scared but thankful.

"We were safe. Nobody died. I mean, that man with the glass in his head...I'm okay. Every day is now a new day."

Connie said the first thing she said when she walked back into work Sunday was how unbelievable everything looks. She can't believe how much progress they've made. It will still take weeks, maybe months, to get everything back to normal, but the airport is running at 70 percent capacity.

KSDK

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