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'Miracle on the Hudson' passenger shares her story

Updated: February 14, 2020 12:48 PM

It's been more than 10 years since a plane leaving New Yorks LaGuardia Airport hit a flock of geese and lost engine power.

Pilot Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger successfully landed the plane on the Hudson River, saving 155 lives.

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On Thursday, one of the passengers on that flight was in Minnesota and reflected on the landing 11 years later. 

Vallie Collins said she travels the country telling people her experience of the "Miracle on the Hudson." Vallie spoke to a meeting of the Minneapolis office of Marsh & McLennan Agency's Growth in Relationships and Opportunities at Work (GROW), a career development initiative open to employees and clients.

"While I don't have, you know, unlimited wisdom, I have gone through an experience that allowed me to re-evaluate, calibrate things in my life and boil it down what was really important," Collins told KSTP.

Now a motivational speaker, Collins weaves her story together carefully, giving audiences a peek into what it was like being on that flight while leaving listeners with five key points.

"If they can apply even one of those to their lives to make their lives better, then maybe that, for me, rationalizes why I was a passenger on Flight 1549," she said.

Collins talks about how people can accomplish great things together.

Shortly after the landing, she was diagnosed with PTSD. Collins said her work includes eliminating the stigma associated with mental health disorders. She says empathy is the key.

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