KENNER, La. (WGNO) — Saturday marked 40 years since Pan Am 759 crashed into a Kenner neighborhood, killing all 146 people on board and eight people on the ground.
The only survivor on the ground was 16-month-old Missy Trahan-Ferrara, the “miracle baby.”
“Three days out of my 41 years, they each have significant memories,” Trahan-Ferrara said. “Some can say that these are the three days that my world fell apart.”
The first one came far too soon. Her little body found burned and buried in the rubble. Her mother and sister died.
“It’s a very somber day but it’s also always a very special day because we’re able to celebrate the ones that we lost and who they truly were,” Trahan-Ferrara said.
City leaders, past and present, put together a commemoration ceremony for the 40th anniversary.
“Anybody that witnessed this tragedy or was a victim indirectly by the loss of a loved one will always remember this date for the rest of their lives,” said the mayor at the time of the crash, Aaron Broussard.
Broussard recalled his first days in office — cleaning debris, rerouting planes away from the Morningside Park neighborhood and doing anything else to help people impacted start to heal.
However, some people, like the “miracle baby” said the healing process was eternal.
“I may have been labeled the ‘miracle baby’ but when I’m with [loved ones], I’m Melanie’s daughter, I’m Brigitte’s sister,” Trahan-Ferrara said. “Tragedy is so hard to deal with and I’ve dealt with it every day since I was little, but one day you will find a sense of peace and hope. Just have faith that day will come.”