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Near-Death Experiences

Aired May 23, 2005 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, how does cheating death change your life? What goes through your mind in what you think are your last moments alive?
We'll ask Jane Seymour. The gorgeous actress had a near-death, out-of-body experience. They found her bargaining with God for her life.

Sade Baderinwa, the New York City news anchor. Could have drowned in rainwater after a car broke through a police barricade and smashed into her.

Actor Richard Lawson, switched seats on a jet that crashed into freezing water. The passenger in the original seat died.

And Matt Ramige, his back broken, his foot stuck in the flaming wreckage of a small plane that crashed in snowy Montana mountains. And that was just the start of his incredible journey to survival.

Brink-of-death stories that could change your life, too, next on LARRY KING LIVE.

Also joining us in New York is Dr. Robi Ludwig, the psychotherapist and frequent guest on this program.

We'll get each story as we go around and get into a major discussion, and later include your phone calls.

What happened, Jane?

JANE SEYMOUR, OUT-OF-BODY EXPERIENCE SURVIVING NEAR-DEATH ALLERGIC REACTION: Well, I was in the middle of a film. I was playing Maria Callas in "The Onassis Story." And I had a bad bronchitis. A doctor was brought in. I was given antibiotics by injection in Madrid, in Spain. And I immediately, on getting the injection, I knew something was wrong. And I felt like my throat was closing. I tried to speak up, but I didn't speak. And I said (SPEAKING SPANISH), and thinking that would be satisfying. The nurse who had given me the injection, (SPEAKING SPANISH).

And the next thing I remember, I was panicking, and then I wasn't panicking. I was very calm, but I wasn't -- I was looking down at my body. I was looking down. I saw this man screaming, yelling, "emergency, emergency!" I was now rolled over, I was half-naked. I had two huge syringes in my backside, and I was watching from the corner of the room. And I saw this white light. I had no pain, I had no tension, I just kind of looked, and then went, "that's very strange. That's me. But that can't be me if I'm here."

And then I realized that I was out of my body and that I was, you know, going to die.

KING: You were changed. What happened?

SEYMOUR: Well, what happened is I remembered -- all of a sudden I just looked, and I went, no, no, I'm not ready to go away. I want to get back in that body. I have children I want to raise. And there's so much I want to do, I want to give back, I want to do so much in the world, and I'm just -- I'm not ready to go. And so I asked whoever was up there, God, a higher power, whatever one wants to call it, I just said, whoever you are, I will never deny your existence, just please let me get back in that body and I won't let you down. I will never let you down. I'm not going to waste one minute of my life if I have it back.

KING: Did you feel yourself go back in?

SEYMOUR: No. The next thing I knew, I was in my body, and my body was out of control. So it's very interesting, because I was in control, but my body wasn't. My arms were flying, my legs were flying. There were two or three people there trying to hold me down, and coming up with a million excuses for why this has happened or what has happened.

And what has actually happened medically was that I had anaphylactic shock. And what they'd done, the injections, were cortisone and adrenaline. And the reason I had anaphylactic shock was that when they -- the injection site was the wrong site. They put it into -- instead of a muscle, they put it into a vein or an artery, and so that's what happened. My system was shocked.

KING: Had nothing -- had nobody come to your attention, you would have died?

SEYMOUR: Oh, absolutely. In fact, I made them get my American doctor on the phone immediately, and he told me that I almost died. And that had I not been given the cortisone and adrenaline, I would have gone.

KING: Matthew Ramige is in New York. What happened, Matthew?

MATTHEW RAMIGE, SURVIVED SMALL PLANE CRASH IN MONTANA MOUNTAINS WITH BROKEN BACK: I was on a small plane, a single-engine Cessna last September with four other people. We were working for the Forest Service. We were headed to a remote site in the Bob Marshall Wilderness, and the plane that we were on crashed, going at about 100 miles an hour. It crashed directly into a mountain. And...

KING: This was in Montana, Matthew?

RAMIGE: This was in western Montana, northwest Montana, very close to Glacier National Park.

KING: Did you see the crash coming?

RAMIGE: I saw the crash coming momentarily before it happened. I'd say maybe five, six seconds before it happened. I knew it was going down.

KING: Did an engine kick out? What happened?

RAMIGE: I don't know exactly what happened. The crash -- the cause of the crash is still under investigation by the NTSB, the authoritative body that handles these matters.

KING: What happened to the other passengers?

RAMIGE: Well, three survived. Two never made it out of the plane. The pilot and a good friend of mine never made it out of the plane. There was a fire immediately.

Three of us made it out, and one of those people died about 12 hours after the crash, so there were two of us left. We had spent the night there at the crash site, very high on a mountain. We built a shelter out of some of the plane parts, and we weren't certain if there would be a rescue, so the other survivor and I, Jodee and I, hiked out to safety. It took us about two days to hike six miles.

KING: Did friends, relatives think you were dead?

RAMIGE: Yes. Everyone thought we were dead. Authorities located the crash after we had left and declared that the crash was unsurvivable. And so we stunned everyone when we hiked out to a highway a few days later.

KING: What were your injuries?

RAMIGE: I had a broken back, I had a compression fracture to my lower spine, and I had burns on about 20 percent of my body.

KING: Have you flown since?

RAMIGE: I have flown. I flew to get back to the East Coast, to recover at my mother's house in Albany, New York, but I don't fly that often. You know, I fly only when I need to. I'm not -- I don't look forward to flying at all.

KING: Did you think you would die?

RAMIGE: I thought I was dying, yes. I thought I was dying at the time. And the next thing I knew, I wasn't dead. And I -- I think I may have lost consciousness for a few seconds, because I woke up and I was burning in the plane. And the other -- Jodee helped me get out of the plane. She had gotten out before me, and she helped free me from the burning plane.

KING: Was there a lot of screaming? Was there -- you had four passengers. What was going on? RAMIGE: You know, I didn't hear anything. It was -- the plane was all broken up. I didn't know up from down, right from left. I mean, it was a horrible scene, and I don't even know how I got out, if it was a door or a broken -- a broken window or what, but somehow I made it out of the plane.

KING: Do you remember those six seconds before it crashed?

RAMIGE: Yeah, I remember that vividly. Yeah, it was horrifying.

KING: What goes through -- everyone thinks -- who has ever flown thinks about that. What goes through you?

RAMIGE: Well, I thought it was all over. I thought, all I can say is I thought that was it. I thought that was the end of me for sure, but somehow I survived it.

KING: Wow.

Richard Lawson, TV and movie actor, who by the way is best known for a two-year stint as Lucas on ABC's "All My Children." What happened?


KING: When?

LAWSON: March 22nd, 1992. And I was going to -- I was doing "All My Children," but I was also working for the NBA Drug Education and Training Association, so I was going to Cleveland to have a meeting with the Cleveland Cavaliers. And I was trying to beat the snowstorm that was coming supposedly Monday morning.

So I left my house about 7:00, and the snowstorm hit. By the time I got to the airport, it was just a mess. And so got on the plane, had strong feelings about it.

KING: Plane took off, though?

LAWSON: Plane took off, going down the runway. I knew the plane was going too slow, I could feel it. We took off, and immediately started going to the left, banking hard to the left, and I knew we were going to crash. I knew we were going to crash the moment I started to get on that plane. That was my premonition.

KING: Really?

LAWSON: Yeah. And so...

KING: Why didn't you get off?

LAWSON: Well, that's a good question. And I wrote a -- I'm in the process of trying to finish a book about why didn't I get off.

KING: You switched seats, though, right?

LAWSON: I switched seats from 6-A to 1-F.

KING: Why?

LAWSON: Well, because the flight -- the ticket agent recognized me, and he wanted an autograph for his wife. I gave it to him, so he gave me a first-class seat. So I went to 1-F.

KING: The person in 6 died?

LAWSON: The person in 6-A died.

KING: How many died in the crash?

LAWSON: Twenty-seven people died; 24 people lived.

KING: Do you remember hitting the water?

LAWSON: I don't remember hitting the water. I remember the sky lighting up outside the window, and I remember it was like in slow motion. I was very, very conscious, in present time, and I lost track of, like, when the plane hit the ground again, that it went into some kind of spin, and we wound up in the water. And I was under water, trapped in my seat.

KING: Freezing, right?

LAWSON: Well, I wasn't aware of the cold.


LAWSON: Not at that point, no. I wasn't aware of the cold until after I got out of the plane and got on land that I was soaking wet, covered with jet fuel, and then I was in freezing temperatures.

KING: Who pulled you out?

LAWSON: Well, no one actually pulled me out. I got up out of the water after I decided that I was going to live. And somebody -- an unknown person stuck their arm through this hole in the side of the plane, and pulled me out of the plane. And I got on top of the plane, and a piece of the plane that had been bent over like a sardine can. And then there was this -- I guess some flame hit a pocket of jet fuel. We all jumped off, and walked around the front of the plane, which we discovered at that time was only five feet deep.

KING: You weren't in deep enough water, so you were able to walk?


KING: We'll come back. We'll get Sade story. We'll get Robi Ludwig's read on all this. We'll take your calls. Don't go away.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) KING: Why didn't you wear a helmet?

GARY BUSEY, SURVIVED NEAR-DEATH EXPERIENCE: Because I didn't think I needed one. It was my ego. And it was feeling the wind in high hair. I was wrong. Arnold -- my friend Arnold, "Gary, you need to wear your helmet." I said my son Jake, dad, you've got to wear that helmet. And I'd say OK, it will be there when I need it. But God had a way of teaching me the lesson and making a humanitarian out of me, by slamming me against that curb at 75 miles an hour, splitting my skull open. Having brain surgery, dying on the table after the brain surgery, having an experience out of body. I got some messages, Larry.

KING: You had an out of body experience?


KING: Saw God?

BUSEY: I saw angels. I was surrounded by angels. And they don't look like what they look like on Christmas cards. They're big balls of light that float and carry nothing but love and warmth.



SADE BADERINWA, WABC-TV: Jusepi (ph) is just in a long list of fatal hit and round victims in our area. Behind each of these names, a story of sadness and pain. For me, my story is one of survival. Nearly a year ago, I was struck by a hit-and-run driver while covering a story on a rainy night in Hackensack, New Jersey. Despite 10 long months of rehab, I've lost full use of my arm. Still, I was one of the lucky ones.


KING: Joining us now from New York is Sade Baderinwa, the anchor and reporter WABC-TV. I remember being in New York frequently during that time and reading this.

What happened?

BADERINWA: Yes, Larry.

KING: Give us the day.

BADERINWA: It was July 23rd last year, and I was out covering a story in Hackensack, New Jersey. It was a story about flooding that you just saw in that clip there. And the particular road I was on was cornered off by police because the road was flooded, so it really wasn't safe for drivers to come through. Homes along that area were also flooded, so I just wrapped up a story. Came of out of the place, and then all sudden this guy came down a road he wasn't supposed to be one. He struck me. I flew 10 feet into the air and landed on the landed on the water-covered street. I was submerged in water. And thank God for the photographers who were working with me that night, they came to my rescue, held my head above water and called for help.

KING: Were you in a lot of pain?

BADERINWA: Oh, I was in an extraordinary amount of pain. It was just a painful, painful recovery. I fractured my arm. You can see me there. I was in the hospital. I had trauma, severe trauma. My knee was completely rebuilt. I had a host of other injuries, but doctors said that I was extremely lucky. I could have died that night if it really wasn't for someone coming along, my photographers, and helping me that night. But it's been a long road to recovery.

You know, like your other guests, they've had to go through so many things. And Matt, he's had to go through excruciating pain and deal with his burns. And like myself and so many other victim who is survive these horrible incidents, you know, you just have to go through this pain and get through it. But for me, I've decided to really take this issue and really try to bring hit and runs to the forefront, and let them know that, you know, these accidents happen all the time.

Yes, Larry.

KING: Was the driver ever -- was the driver ever caught?

BADERINWA: The driver was never caught, unlike, you know -- I mean, this happens all of the time. I just reported on a story today where a woman was struck by a hit and run driver. She lost her leg. So, Larry, I'm one of the lucky ones here tonight. I have survived, and I'm able to tell my story and really to try to bring this issue to the forefront.

KING: Can you figure out what the car was trying to prove?

BADERINWA: I -- you know, I don't know, Larry. You know, why he didn't stop, you know, I'll never know to this day. I certainly forgive the driver, but, you know, for the life of me, I don't understand why people just continue to drive. You know, you leave a victim there, and somebody could die. And that's it. And sometimes these drivers are the last -- the last point of hope for the victim that's lying in the street.

And that's why I've partnered with AAA to try to bring this issue to the forefront. And to let drivers know, be accountable for what you're doing, be responsible. And to, you know, get the victim the help that they need.

KING: Dr. Ludwig, can we assume from these stories that people attain a different kind of gumption, or whatever it might be called, when they approach fatality?

DR. ROBI LUDWIG, PH.D., PSYCHOTHERAPIST: Yes, absolutely. It often forces a person to view themselves in the world very differently. And what you hear on the panel is that none of these people view themselves as victims. They view themselves as survivors. And when you're faced with trauma, you view yourself from a different perspective. Very often, people see their life as somewhat random, and when you are faced with a near-death experience, you see the purpose. Very often people find the purpose in their life, that that there's a meaning, that there's fate that they get in touch with. So it's a very, very powerful experience that a lot of people don't often get to view themselves as.

KING: What do you make of Jane Seymour saying that she saw herself?

LUDWIG: Well, there's been interesting studies about near-death experience. And, you know, it's very hard to know. Science doesn't prove whether someone actually has a near-death experience. However, what we found is people who have the traditional near-death experience, which is the out of body experience, seeing the light, seeing God, that they do undergo brain changes, that their brain operates differently.

Now, we don't know if because their brain operates differently that they had this experience, they're not psychologically abnormal, but just that their brain is synchronized differently, and that there are personality changes and differences as a result of this type of experience that's substantiated by significant others. That there's usually a lack of fear of death. If you're an atheist, there's a belief in God, there's a sense of purpose. And really being in the world in a more altruistic way.

KING: We'll take a break. We'll come back. We'll be including your calls in a little while.

A program note here. Next week this program will be 20-years-old in the same time slot. CNN will be 25-years-old. And to celebrate our portion of that anniversary, our 20th anniversary, our guests next week include Vice President Dick Cheney, George and Barbara Bush, President Bill Clinton, Dan Rather, Mark Geragos, and Barbara Walters interviewing me. That's all next week on LARRY KING LIVE.

We'll be right back.


KING: Did you have a white light experience? Did you see death really?


KING: You did?

STONE: yes.

KING: Come on.

STONE: Yes, I did. I know, it sounds -- it sounds...

KING: Spooky.

STONE: But it isn't spooky. It's so comforting to have had that experience at the time that I had the brain hemorrhage and the day that it was all really had reached the nadir of the experience, I became unconscious, and I really sort of went into the vortex of that white light, and...

KING: What's it like?

STONE: It's very, very beautiful, and very comforting, and very peaceful, and quiet, and clean.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm real proud of my son.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And Wendy Becker, a U. Albany psychology professor, has every reason to be. Her son's plane crashed on Monday on the way to a wilderness area because of bad weather. Rescue workers told the families there were no survivors, but they were wrong.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think I'm still in shock. To be honest with you, I haven't slept for three days. I went from hearing that his plane was lost to 24 hours later hearing that the plane was found and there were no survivors, to 24 hours later hearing that Matt walked out of the mountain.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Talk about a will to survive, Ramige had burns over 20 percent of his body and broken his lower back in the crash. Still, he and another passenger, 23-year-old Jodee Hogg managed to keep warm in 20 degree temperatures, and make it down the mountain, about six miles from the wreckage of the crash that killed three of their friends.


KING: Matthew, you consider yourself lucky or unlucky?

RAMIGE: Very lucky, no question about that. I mean, I'm still here. I've got a good life ahead of me, though my life has changed a lot. And, I'm kind of in a transition phase right now, recovering, but I definitely consider myself lucky.

KING: Even though you were unlucky to be in a crash?

RAMIGE: That's true, but, hey, three people died on board that plane, and I made it out somehow, so I'll always consider myself lucky on that day, yes.

KING: Jane, are you lucky?

SEYMOUR: I think I'm incredibly lucky. I count my blessings every day. I'm incredibly grateful to have life.

KING: Even though someone gave you a wrong shot?

SEYMOUR: Right, and you know, you can't sue in that country, so there's nothing I could do. I mean, the biggest issue for me was I was terrified of ever going to sleep after that. I was afraid that if I closed my eyes, that I'd leave my body, so it took me a while to get past that one.

No, I consider myself actually lucky to have had this experience, because I see a lot of people waste their lives, and a great, great friend of mine was Christopher Reeve, and we used to share this experience, and what a gift it was, in a way, to have had something traumatic happen because you then had these amazing opportunities that came your way because there were, you know, no barriers. There was no kind of, oh, you can't do this because you're not supposed to do that, or you might not be good enough, or someone might think it's not a good idea. You can't just go, why not? Let's try it. What do we have to lose?

KING: Do you believe god was with you there?

SEYMOUR: I -- yes, I believe. I believe that there is some spiritual entity that's greater than us. I do not belong to any specific organized religion. I have always believed that, and I believe it even more so now. I believe that someone was listening to me, and someone is giving me an incredibly blessed life.

KING: You lucky, Matthew?

LAWSON: Richard? Yes.

KING: Richard, I'm sorry.

LAWSON: That's all right. Sure, I -- you know what, I am lucky.

KING: Cause you switched seats?

LAWSON: Well, I mean...

KING: But the other guy wasn't.

LAWSON: No, the other lady wasn't, and it was funny, because the -- there was two ladies that took those seats, and the first lady, who sat in 6-A had a weird feeling at Kendra St. Charles (ph), and she asked to move -- to change seats with her friend. And so I sat there first, and then she sat there, and we both had -- you know, something happened that changed that seat, and that lady that wound up sitting there didn't make it.

So, yes, I am very lucky, but I'm very fortunate to have had that experience. I think experiences like that, for whatever reasons we are blessed enough to be the ones to survive it, gives us something that, I think, that few people have.

KING: You'll never be the same.


KING: Sade, are you lucky? BADERINWA: Well, Larry, I don't feel lucky. I feel blessed. I thank god that I'm alive because I could've been dead. But I think this incident has really taught me how short life is -- is that, you really have to enjoy it to its fullest and really try to give back to the world as much as you can. That's what life is really about for me.

KING: Tim McGraw said live each day like it's the last. Why do you need an experience, Robi?

LUDWIG: Sometimes people walk around emotionally dead and lost, even though they have life and have opportunity. If it doesn't exist in their own mind, then it doesn't really exist, and sometimes it's crisis that shakes up the way we view ourselves and what's available to us, and there's nothing that's more threatening than a confrontation with death. It forces us to think, what is our purpose on the earth? What are we here to give? And also, it forces us to connect to a being that's larger than ourselves, and very often, people feel emotionally healthier when they don't just rely on themselves and when they're faced with a near-death experience, very often people pray and rely on other people, which is a very healing experience.

KING: And very well put. We'll take a break and come back and include your phone calls. Don't go away.


CHRISTOPHER REEVE, FMR ACTOR, QUADRIPLEGIC: I nearly died twice in 1995, so I've been to the edge and back. And the fact, you know, that everything that we do, every place we go, everything we see, we share it in a new life, and really is a triumph.

KING: You also told me last time, the only time you thought about dying was that morning after, until she walked in the room, right?

REEVE: Yes. That's true. Absolutely.

KING: But you gave it about 10 minutes of...

REEVE: I had 10 minutes of, maybe I should just check out. Maybe I'm too much trouble. Maybe it really wouldn't be worth having me around, and then she came in, and she said, but I love you, and you're still you. And for her, it was that simple, and that's faith right there. That's faith and love mixed together. They're really the same thing.



KING: The near-death experience. Our guests are Jane Seymour, the Emmy-winning actress most famous as "Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman," had a near-death, out-of-body experience that certainly changed her life. In New York, Sade Baderinwa, she's the anchor and reporter for WABC-TV in New York, nearly killed by a hit-and-run driver while on assignment.

Here in Los Angeles, Richard Lawson, TV and movie actor, perhaps best known for his two-year stint as Lucas on ABC's "All My Children," on board a commercial jet that crashed into the water after taking off from La Guardia. The passenger in the seat he was originally assigned to died.

In New York is Matthew Ramige, barely survived when his small plane crashed into a Montana mountainside. Friends and relatives were told he was dead, were planning his funeral when he's found his way to a highway several miles from the crash site.

And Dr. Robi Ludwig, the psychotherapist, is with us as well.

And we go to Olympia, Washington. Hello.

CALLER: Good evening, Larry.

KING: Hello.

CALLER: My question is for Jane Seymour.

KING: Go ahead.

CALLER: Jane, just I want to say I'm so glad that you're doing so well, and I loved you in "Somewhere in Time."

My question is this: Earlier you mentioned that after having your near-death experience, that you kind of made a bargain with a higher power that you would do things differently. I was wondering if you might be able to elaborate on maybe a specific thing in your life that changed as a result of this experience?

SEYMOUR: I spend as much time as I possibly can doing things for other people, if I can. If I see a need and I feel that I can help, I do it. I work a great deal in terms of charities and things.

I don't waste any time at all. I have no time at all for people who are being very negative or people who are very whiny or people who feel sorry for themselves. I tend to go to them and just say, you don't understand how incredible life is and how precious it is.

I spend more time with my children. I tell people what I really feel about them, if I love them, and I think that you live...

KING: Or don't like them.

SEYMOUR: Or don't like them, no, but I live in the present tense. I really live in the present tense. And I've been doing all kinds of things, like I'm painting now, I'm designing, I'm acting, playing different roles I never, ever would have done.

I just -- I look upon life now as challenges being an amazing opportunity. In fact, I read a book about it called "Remarkable Changes," talking about that.

But the real issue is that life is very precious, and, you know, it's never boring. And I always think of life like a giant wave. You know, it rises and it crests and it flies, and it's just magnificent, and then it crashes. And for a lot of people, when it crashes, that's the end, and they go down the deep, dark hole of depression.

For me, as it's crashing, it's regrouping and it's carrying with it the new water, and everything that it has -- the experience it had before it crashed. So that's how I feel about life. And I tend to, like, talk about that to people, you know, who are receptive.

KING: Sade, how have you changed?

BADERINWA: Well, Larry, in some ways I feel I haven't changed. It's really just strengthened my resolve. I've always been a fighter, I've always had a strong spirit. So in that sense it really hasn't, but in the way that I think I've changed is to really enjoy this thing called life, to not waste any bit of time at all.

And also, I never thought that hit-and-run would be an issue that I'd attach myself to. So if anything, I think this has awakened me to a brand new issue, and really just trying to let people know how often that it occurs, that it's actually increased 15 percent nationwide over the last five years. So this is an area that we need to look at and to pay particular attention to.

KING: Richard, how have you changed?

LAWSON: I don't think that I've changed a lot other than to sort of confirm the things that I always knew. I have -- dove into the aspect of creation, art, writing. I've written a book. I'm now doing the things that I've always wanted to do, and I'm sort of -- I'm more walking the walk than talking the talk.

KING: Are you afraid to fly?

LAWSON: Not at all. Not at all. I'm a great flyer, because what I realize is -- you know what my philosophy is? I live every day like as if that's the last day on Earth.

KING: Tim McGraw's song.

LAWSON: Maybe so. But I expect to die at the end of the day. And, so therefore, I'm going to make sure I get it all in.

KING: Wow. Matthew, how have you changed?

RAMIGE: Well, kudos to Richard there for still flying. I think that's fantastic. Hopefully some day I'll be up there again flying, too.

But basically, I'm still the same person. I have changed in some ways. I've had a very profound experience in my life now, and I've had a glimpse of my own mortality. I think that's the biggest thing. It's just been incredible. I've had some positive experiences come out of this as well. I've met a lot of great people at the hospitals, other burn survivors, my therapists, and so I'm trying to focus on the positive and not really dwell on what's happened to me, if you know what I mean.

KING: Daytona Beach, Florida, hello.

CALLER: Yes. It seems that all near-death experiences are similar, regardless of the person's age, ethnic background, or religious belief. Could the message here be that God controls all of our destinies and no one religion is better than another religion?

KING: Dr. Ludwig, you get any read on that?

LUDWIG: I would hope so. That is what the studies show, that with traditional near-death experiences, that there's a remarkable core experience, and that even people who come back who are religious have a new feeling about religion and the segregation of religion. So if people can come away with that message, I say more power to them.

KING: And we'll be right back with more calls. Don't go away.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Investigators are laying out the pieces left from Sunday's U.S. Air Flight 405, looking to explain the plane's failure to stay in the air just after lifting off. The commuter jet bounced over an embankment and broke into pieces, with most of the bodies spinning upside down into Flushing Bay.

LAWSON: And I was completely pinned under water. I didn't think I was going to live. As a matter of fact, the thought that I had was, you know, just be calm in this death, just be calm. Don't fight and struggle, you know. And so -- then another voice came to me and said, you know, get out of here, you can do this.



KING: We're back. Boca Raton, Florida, hello.

CALLER: Hi. Thank you, Larry.

KING: Sure.

CALLER: I was wondering two things. One, if any of your guests have had seen any of their lost loved ones that passed away before them? And also if any of them saw their life flash before them.

KING: Matthew, did you see anything like that?

RAMIGE: No. I wouldn't say my life flashed before me, but I definitely thought -- momentarily I thought that I was experiencing death. And then the next thing I knew, I was still alive. And I was just glad to get out of that plane as soon as I could.

KING: Jane.

SEYMOUR: Well, actually, my sister had a brain aneurysm. And just before she collapsed, her brain aneurysm, she clearly saw my father who had died exactly four years to the day, to the hour, that she collapsed. And she saw him sitting right next to her. So that was very bizarre. But that didn't happen to me.

KING: Did you have anything like that, Richard?

LAWSON: Not flashing before me. I mean, what flashed before me was this truth, and this, like, I was saying to you about that plane, I knew that the plane was going to crash.

KING: Still you got on?

LAWSON: I still got on. And it's that voice, that battling of that one side of you that knows the truth and the other side of you that is just euphoric in nature, and wants to be satisfied. That middle class part of me made me stay on that plane.

KING: Sade did you see anything while you were lying there?

BADERINWA: No. Nothing, Larry. Just things went black, and I was unconscious, and I woke up at a hospital. So my life didn't flash before me, no.

KING: As Woody Allen once said, he was going down in an airplane one and an entire life flashed in front of him and it wasn't his life.

Denison, Texas, hello.

CALLER: Hi. Yes. I was just wanting to ask Jane -- how is it that -- I'm 30, and I went through a major car accident, and I was only pronounced maybe 45 minutes of living. But I turned around and I came out of it. How is it that you tried to stay positive vs. so much negativity around you in everybody that you try to get across to them exactly what you went through? And my entire life changed in a matter of a wreck. I mean, just overnight. I mean...

KING: Do people stay negative around you, ma'am?

CALLER: I mean, it's like -- I can't get over the people that complain about little things or they don't -- you know what I'm saying?

SEYMOUR: Oh, absolutely. It just drives me completely crazy. You know, because life is just so precious. And when you've had something like this, you realize it more than anyone else. So you want to shake people and just say, look, you've just -- you've got this amazing gift. There's so much you could do. There's so much you can give. There's so much you can share with people. Why didn't you do is it?

KING: So when you run into people like complainers... SEYMOUR: I'm horrible, horrible with complainers.

KING: Chattanooga, Tennessee, hello.

CALLER: Hi. This is for Dr. Ludwig. My question, I was hit by a hit-and-run 4-years-ago. I'm dealing with conflicts, post-traumatic stress disorder. I was hit and knocked 50 feet in a parking lot and have a pulverized knee. And how long is it to overcome something like that, the nightmares and the flashbacks?

LUDWIG: Are you in treatment? Are you in treatment with a psychologist or a psychotherapist?

CALLER: No. All they've given me is a counselor to talk to. And I've lost a lot of my spiritualness, because I keep asking why it had to happen? Because I've tried to do things right.

KING: I'd like to have Dr. Ludwig answer and also Sade. Dr. Ludwig first.

LUDWIG: First I would recommend that you get in counseling with somebody that you can talk to. It does take a while to get through the trauma, and sometimes it does find -- take time to find a reason. And sometimes there is no good reason for why something bad happens. But when you find the purpose, you actually change the experience. But it also sounds like you need to get the right treatment so that you can talk it out, what happened to you, so you can get through it.

KING: Sade.

BADERINWA: And I appreciate this caller from Chattanooga, Tennessee. Thank you so much for calling in.

You know, for me personally, I've never really looked at myself as a victim, because there are so many people who actually die from this experience. I just did the story on Giuseppe Papandrea, father of six, 61-years-old, he didn't make it. But both of us, we survived. And I would just encourage you to look at that, instead of looking at this negative experience, turn it into something positive. Try to take this experience and say, well, why did I survive? What am I to do with my life now? And try to live it to its fullest. Not one moment did I ever think that I wasn't going to make it. That I wasn't going to pull through this, even though I have a permanent disability with my arm. You continue with life.

KING: Very well put. I notice you're nodding, Richard.

LAWSON: Yes. You know, I think -- you know, it's an interesting thing, this post-traumatic stress. The easiest thing to do is look at the problem. If you're trying to look for a reason why, you could stay forever looking for why. If you're looking to solutions and looking to what is good in your life and what is positive in your life, and you get rid of the people who are negative and dark in your life, you have a greater chance of surviving. It's not about why you did it or why it happened. It's about, well, what do I have? And what's in front of me? And what can I do? KING: Very well put. We'll be back with more. Don't go away.



KING: What did you hang on to?

PETRA NEMCOVA, CLUNG TO TREE FOR LIFE: Well, I -- before hanging onto a tree, there was lots of other things happening, because I was trying to -- after while, the pressure released itself. So I was like, that's my chance to go on the roof, actually. But then another wave came, and I was under the water for a long time. And I already stopped fighting, I stopped kicking because and...

KING: You thought you were going to die?

NEMCOVA: Yes. And it was, actually, in some way it really peaceful. And it was -- I wasn't afraid. I was very -- the whole time through I was very calm and focused. And I was making lots of prayers and sending energy to people, and thinking of Simon and all the people there.


KING: Jane, you wanted to add something about the Chattanooga caller and traumatic.

SEYMOUR: Yes. You know, my mother went through a concentration camp experience. She was in Indonesia and Japanese in World War II. And she said to me, the only reason that she survived as opposed to a lot of other people who didn't survive, was that she decided to nurse, to take care of other people there. And so what she said, is she took herself out of herself. Rather than saying, why me, I can't handle this. I can't do this anymore. She just went -- she said to me, always -- there's always someone worse off than you. There's always someone that has a much harder situation than you have. And I really suggest to this caller that they look, and they see who there is that they know in their community or around them that they could help, because that will heal them. That will heal them.

KING: I have no shoes, I saw someone with no feet.


KING: Oceana (ph), California, hello.

CALLER: Hi. My question is for Dr. Ludwig. I had a near-death drowning, and I saw everything crystal clear, just I mean, everything. And I'm wondering why everything flashed in front of my eyes, and Sade and other people that doesn't happen.

LUDWIG: Right. Well, Sade didn't have the traditional near- death experience. She had a confrontation with death, which is slightly different. And, actually, it produces different chemical reactions in the brain. And what we know about near-death experiences is that there are certain core experiences, but it doesn't mean that everybody will have every single experience. So for some reason, you had the life review, but it doesn't mean that everybody will have that.

KING: Baltimore, hello.

CALLER: Hi, Larry. I would like to know if any of your guests, in the moment of death, considered not coming back and facing the pain?

KING: Yeah, did you ever say, I want to die? I don't want to be burnt. I don't want to live?

RAMIGE: Well, no. I haven't considered that at all. I'm happy now. You know, I have a good life ahead of me, like I said before, and I'm just happy to be here. And, no, no way.

KING: So you never said, I'd like to buy it?

RAMIGE: Absolutely not.

KING: What about you, Richard?

LAWSON: Well, when I was under water for close to two minutes probably, there was a -- there was a moment where I did think that I was going to -- that was it, because it was in this plane crash, I was under water, I couldn't move. All of the data that I had going through me said, there's no way. And then there came a moment when my will became stronger than the circumstance.

KING: You wanted to live.

LAWSON: I wanted to live. And that was true for a lot of people who -- there was 27 people that died and 18 people drowned, and there's 24 people who lived. And a good deal of the people who lived talked about the similar experience of getting to a place where death was imminent, and they knew it, and they made a decision to live. And that's one of the things that I think I'm very well aware of today, that living is a choice.

KING: Did you ever give up, Sade?

BADERINWA: No, I never gave up, Larry. I had some difficult moments, but you know, I enjoy life too much. I think life really is about the challenges that come before you. For me, this was one challenge that I had. I had to regain full use of my arm again, which was really difficult, and I still don't have that, but I always wanted life. And it's really, how do you handle the challenges?

The other call from Chattanooga, Tennessee said that she was having a difficult time getting through this. Well, I challenge her and others, you know, who face difficulty in their life to say, you know what, I'm going to get through this, and I'm going to get beyond this. And that's what it really is about. I think -- and all of our guests here today have said, you know, I've gotten through this, and I'm a better person for this experience. And I know I certainly am. KING: Jane, did you ever want to give up?

SEYMOUR: No. I was terrified of going to sleep afterwards. I was afraid I wouldn't wake up. But I think, you know, the vision that I saw was that there was my body, and I wasn't in it, and someone else was going to take care of my kids. And that was my obsession. My obsession was, I'm going to raise those kids, and somehow I'm going to get back there and do it. So, no, I never gave up.

KING: We'll be back with more after this. Don't go away.


KING: Let's get caught up on things now for these folks. What are you doing now, Richard?

LAWSON: I'm teaching, where I've taught for the last 25 years, at the Beverly Hills Playhouse. I started this new camera technique class called the Richard Lawson's on-camera class, and you can find it at And it's changing actors' and people's lives. It's really a revolutionary kind of thing. I'm using technology to really, you know, show people how to really act on film.

KING: And Sade, you're still reporting, right?

BADERINWA: I certainly am. I'm anchoring the 5:00 o'clock news at WABC, with Diana Williams. So, Larry, I just also want to say thank you for having me here tonight, and it's really been a pleasure to talk about this experience and to talk about the issue of hit-and- runs.

KING: And you have no use of, what, the right arm?

BADERINWA: The left arm. I mean, I do have some use of the arm. I've been in physical therapy since the accident happened. I started off at five days a week, so -- but it looks like this is as far as I'm going to get at this point. But you know, I've closed this chapter, Larry, and I have so much more to do. My life certainly will not be defined by this accident.

KING: Matthew, what are you doing now?

RAMIGE: I get treatment here in New York City at New York Presbyterian Hospital. They have a great burn center there.

KING: They sure do.

RAMIGE: I go in for hand therapy, and I see a back doctor. And I'm just working really hard at getting back to where I was before this happened to me.

KING: What kind of work do you want to do?

RAMIGE: Well, I've been working for the Forest Service, and I may go back into forestry, I may go back to school. I haven't really decided what I'll be doing in the future yet. KING: Jane?

SEYMOUR: I've got a movie I just did with Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn called "The Wedding Crashers." I'm playing comedy for the first time -- well, not the first time, but I'm really doing a lot of comedy. I just finished another film called "The Blind Guy," another comedic turn. I have a full-time painting career.

KING: You paint? You sell?

SEYMOUR: I paint, I sell. I do about 12 one-woman shows a year. I raise a lot of money for charity with my paintings. I design home furnishings, children's clothing and handbags, you know, and I write books and I'm on the lecture circuit. In fact, I'm going to Minneapolis tomorrow to lecture.

KING: You live here or Great Britain?

SEYMOUR: I live here. I just became a citizen, which I'm really thrilled about.

KING: Congratulations.

SEYMOUR: Thank you very much. And I have a home in England that's over 1,000 years old, that, you know, I'm trying to keep going.

KING: Dr. Ludwig, one thing we can say about tonight, the indomitable spirit of the human being, right?

LUDWIG: Absolutely. And sometimes we find our strength during the most difficult situations, but I just want to let everyone else know out there that you don't need a near-death experience to get in touch with your purpose, that you can do it through the people you love, through prayer, through medication, that it's available to everyone.

KING: Thank you all very much for an illuminating, helpful hour.

Tomorrow night, we will take a look at latest developments in the inquiry into the death of Princess Diana.

And one reminder, next week is the 20th anniversary of LARRY KING LIVE, and in that regard, our guests all next week will be Vice President Dick Cheney; president -- former President Bush and Barbara Bush; former President Clinton; Dan Rather; Barbara Walters interviewing me; and Mark Geragos.

That's all next week on LARRY KING LIVE.

Right now, it's time to turn it over to my compatriot, my companion, my -- my adjoining figure here on CNN. We -- my pass-along every night, Aaron Brown. Mr. B, welcome. Welcome to another week at CNN.

AARON BROWN, HOST, NEWSNIGHT: Thank you. I thought you were going to say my fan, but I'll -- I don't want to -- I'll work on that. KING: That's a given.

BROWN: Thank you, Larry.


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