FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) _ When Delta Air Lines Flight 191 crashed and crumbled in a Texas thunderstorm, passenger John Malloy responded to the screams of a trapped and injured flight attendant, pulling her to safety.
To the family of Jenny Amatulli, Malloy is nothing less than a hero - they spent several days after Friday’s crash at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport trying to locate and thank him.
Mrs. Amatulli’s husband, Tony, who lives in Fort Lauderdale, finally reached Malloy on Monday.
″He was just very thankful,″ Malloy said. ″What more can the guy say?
″He said he’s going to come see me some time and buy me dinner and get me drunk or something.
″I was very relieved to hear she’s going to be OK. They saved her foot and leg and the whole thing, her husband told me.″
Malloy, 29, of Redondo Beach, Calif., who escaped with scratches from the crash that killed 133 people, said the 35-year-old flight attendant was pinned in her seat several rows ahead of him.
″She was screaming to get us out of there because she was afraid of a fire or an explosion,″ he said. ″I released my (seat-belt) buckle and fell. I landed in the seat just in front of her.
″Her leg was pretty badly mangled. I think it was jammed in there under some debris. She had some extreme neck pain and was in agony all over.″
Malloy said he unfastened Mrs. Amatulli’s seat belt and pulled her from her seat. Together they jumped to the ground.
″She wanted us to get away from the plane as fast as we could,″ he said. ″We were near a gully. It was raining real hard and I thought that would be the best place.
″I went to the bottom of the gully ... trying to get a picture of what was going on. I didn’t see any flames. We seemed relatively safe and I just did what I could to comfort her.″
Malloy said he stayed with Mrs. Amatulli and called to others scurrying around the wreckage to bring blankets and pillows. ″She was freezing. It was a really cold rain and the wind and hail got really heavy,″ he said.
When rescue crews began to arrive, Malloy said, he carried Mrs. Amatulli out of the gully to paramedics, who took her away on a stretcher.
Mrs. Amatulli, a flight attendant for 12 years, was in fair condition at Dallas’ Parkland Memorial Hospital after surgery on fractures in her foot and ankle. She also suffered fractures to her hand and neck.
″She’s in a lot of pain and, because of the neck injury, she feels a burning pain along her back,″ said her cousin, Manuel Alen Jr. of Miami. ″At this time, it does not look like it’s going to be crippling at all. Physically she looks great.″
Alen said he plans to visit Malloy in California this week. ″I just want him to know how grateful we are.″