It’s the worst plane crash in St. Louis history.
On July 23, 1973, Ozark Airlines Flight 809 was a little less than three miles from Lambert Airport when it disappeared from radar.
Forty-four people were on board.
Bystanders on the ground saw the plane go down. From inside the plane, passengers Stu Sikes, 30, and Tanzi Cordin, 7, watched their worlds fall apart.
They were among the six who survived that day.
Remembering: The horrific flight
“The front of the airplane wasn't there anymore and I was looking out this giant round hole that was the fuselage,” Sikes said.
“The next thing I remember I was facing the sky and I was still in my seat,” Cordin said. “I couldn't move one of my arms so I tried looking around and I saw debris everywhere.”
Sikes broke his back and had to rebuild his life.
Cordin’s loss was unimaginable. Her mother Doris, and sister Nikki, 12, died in the crash.
“I saw my mom. She had debris all over her and I tried to get out of my seat and I didn't have to scoot far. And her eyes were open. And she looked at me and mouthed the words, she said 'I love you,' and that's all I remember,” Cordin said.
She's carried grief and guilt with her since then.
“My sister said to me 'since I have the window seat, would you like the window seat?' and I said no, and I think about the minute of how that changed both of our lives.”
But she also takes with her, the lessons learned from that moment.
Surviving: Living after the crash
“It made me appreciate more than ever like moments in time, things not to take for granted, listen to your gut that's a big one."
Sikes feels the same way. In a day of so much loss, they gained so much perspective.
"You already lived through a plane crash, don't worry what will happen next, the worst is over,” Sikes said.
And while they're both survivors and had a different outcome than most, they hope to never forget the ones who boarded the very same plane.
“I want to honor everyone that died,” Cordin said. “We all lost that day.”
Cordin's father and other sister did not go on the trip.
They reunited with her in St. Louis and took her home to Michigan where the family was living at the time.
Honoring: The effort for a memorial
St. Louis author Brice York is working on getting a memorial in place at the crash site. She hopes to have it in time for the 50th anniversary of the crash next year.