The Art of Strengths Coaching

P is for Jackie Pflug: Her Story Of Survival

Many people have heard about Jackie’s story of surviving an aircraft hijacking and shooting. This is outlined in the video above.

Jackie slowly recovered from her injuries and clarified what she had learned about making choices in life. She outlined these lessons in her book Miles To Go Before I Sleep.

Here is how Jackie describes her story on her web site. You can find it at:

On Thanksgiving weekend in November of 1985, I was flying to Cairo, Egypt from Athens, Greece, where I had attended a volleyball tournament with a group of students.

At the time, I was a special education teacher at the Cairo American School. Ten minutes into EgyptAir Flight #648, three terrorists, calling themselves “The Egypt Revolution,” hijacked our flight.

A gun battle ensued as the terrorists took control of the flight at an altitude of 35,000 feet. We were forced to land in Luqa Airport in Malta.

The terrorists began to execute one passenger every 15 minutes until their demands for fuel were met. Like four passengers before me, I was shot at point blank range, execution style, thrown from the plane onto the tarmac and left for dead.

For five hours, I drifted in and out of consciousness until an airport grounds crew retrieved my body on its way to the morgue. Fifty-nine passengers died during the ordeal.

I lived.

Over the years, I have had to adapt to the effects of being shot in the head and the resulting brain injury, which includes impaired vision and a loss of short-term memory.

Fortunately, I see things differently today. This experience has opened my eyes to all of those obstacles that consume us in our lives and careers.

If I have learned anything, it’s that we must look beyond those obstacles that get in our way and focus on what really matters. The people in your life are critical to your success, both personally and professionally. Each of us makes choices daily to be happy or sad, positive or negative. Choose wisely.

I share my story in order to spread a message of hope and encouragement to audiences around the world.


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