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Injured Indian flight attendant keen to resume flying


    Nidhi Chaphekar, a Jet Airways flight attendant and a victim of the Brussels airport terror attack, painted at her residence in Mumbai, India.

NEW DELHI >> An Indian flight attendant who was injured in the Brussels airport blasts last year said she has recovered 70 percent of her previous fitness level and would like to resume her passion, flying.

Nidhi Chaphekar suffered burns and a broken foot in the explosions. She said she is looking forward to visiting Brussels next week to take part in the anniversary commemoration and meet the doctors and others who helped her.

The March 22 bombing in the Brussels airport and subway killed 31 people and wounded 270.

A photograph of Chaphekar, a flight attendant with India’s Jet Airways, became an iconic image of the attacks. It showed the 40-year-old mother of two sitting dazed and bloodied, with her bright yellow uniform ripped.

In an interview in Mumbai today, Chaphekar said the picture gave her family in India hope that she was alive.

“I appeared to be in a state of shock. It was a compelling picture as it depicted everything — shock and trauma,” she said.

In the past year, Chaphekar’s life has changed.

“From a very independent female, I became dependent on others as I recovered from injuries. I used to run a lot. I can’t run now,” she said.

“I am 70 percent fine now. A bone has to be put in my injured right foot. Physically, there are challenges,” Chaphekar said.

“I have not yet started flying. My dream is to fly back,” she said, adding that she would be flying to Brussels on Sunday for a 10-day visit.

Chaphekar said she is writing a book and has been asked to give motivational speeches. She wants to inspire people and tell them that everything is possible in life.

“I used to be a very difficult person, but the love and affection of people after the Brussels experience has changed me,” she said.

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