Kendra St. Charles Understands RESILIENCY and PURPOSE

Life was great for Kendra. Her hard work in her career was starting to pay off and she had just been asked to represent the company she worked for in a trade show in New York City. She was excited to go, but didn't expect that the flight back home would change her life.

It was a cold, snowy day in New York on March 22, 1992. The weather was so bad that the flight from LaGuardia airport back to Cleveland Hopkins was delayed multiple times.

After the delays, Kendra finally boarded US Airways flight 405 to head back to Ohio. Shortly after liftoff, the plane crashed into a fiery ball into Flushing Bay just off of LaGuardia Airport runway 13.


She was one of the very few to survive the burning wreckage floating in jet fuel in the icy shallow waters. St. Charles survived with second- and third-degree burns over her body, severe smoke inhalation, and a punctured lung.

She also had no identification on her and had changed seats twice on the plane. Intubated and unable to talk, she was listed as dead for days before hospital staff confirmed her identity and eventually contacted her young daughter and family.


After a long and arduous recovery, she used her personal experience to shape law, post-crash crisis protocol, and key humanitarian transportation accident response. She poured herself into helping others, especially crash survivors.

She and her fellow survivors founded the National Air Disaster Alliance (NADA) in 1995. St. Charles testified in Congress to encourage the legislation which became the Aviation Disaster Family Assistance Act of 1996. This law created the Office of Transportation Disaster Assistance (TDA), at the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). By special invitation by multiple national and international air carriers, St. Charles helps train and shape crisis-response policy. She works with the Air Crash Victims' Family Group on worldwide policy and protocol.

As a sought after public speaker, Kendra uses her experiences and insights to speak about survivorship, crisis management, resiliency, purpose, and finding a new life from change.