Cynthia Banham who survived fiery, Indonesian plane crash thinks about the 21 people who died

An Australian woman who survived a fiery, Indonesian plane crash says she is constantly thinking about the 21 people who died.

Cynthia Banham, a former marathon runner, managed to escape from the burning wreckage of Garuda flight 200 after it overshot the runway and crashed into a rice paddy in the Javanese city of Yogyakarta, in March 2007.

The former Sydney Morning Herald journalist, who was following then foreign minister Alexander Downer to Indonesia, suffered burns to 60 per cent of her body and had to have both her legs amputated.

An Australian woman who survived a fiery, Indonesian plane crash (pictured) says she is constantly thinking about the 21 people who died

More than a decade on, Banham said she was constantly thinking about those who died, including Australian Financial Review journalist Morgan Mellish, who was among five Australians killed.

‘I always think about the people who were around me, who didn’t survive. People who were on either side of me who didn’t survive,’ she said in an emotional interview with the ABC’s 7.30 program on Tuesday.

‘I think about them every day. It’s never going to change.’

She also revealed she worried about the welfare of her parents, who made the heart-wrenching decision to allow surgeons to amputate one of her legs and part of the other.

‘I think my father in particular, was always worried,’ she said.

Cynthia Banham, a former marathon runner, managed to escape from the burning wreckage of Garuda flight 200 after it overshot the runway and crashed into a rice paddy in Yogyakarta

More than a decade on, Banham said she was constantly thinking about those who died, including Australian Financial Review journalist Morgan Mellish (pictured) 

‘He always felt a very grave sense of responsibility for having given permission to the doctors to take my limbs and he was, you know, always very worried that I, that he’d made a mistake somehow to consign me to a life so limited by these losses and my mum felt the same way.’

However Banham, who spent four months in a Perth hospital, said she was ‘so grateful to have survived’.

She had the unwavering support of her then boyfriend Michael Harvey, a former Herald-Sun journalist, who she later married. 

The plane crash survivor is now also a mum to five-year-old Leon and has written a book called ‘A Certain Light – A Memoir of Family, Loss and Hope’.

However Banham, who spent four months in a Perth hospital, said she was ‘so grateful to have survived’

The journalist-turned-author has credited burns specialist Dr Fiona Wood, the 2005 Australian of the Year, for saving her life, by amputating both of her legs.

She also said the traumatic experience made reflect on how her Italian grandfather had survived being in a German forced labour camp during World War II.

‘I felt incredibly isolated for a long time by what had happened to me and I imagined that my grandfather probably did too,’ she said.

‘Nobody else that I knew had been through anything like that.’ 

News Source DailyMailsNews

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