Plane crash sole survivors wrestle with guilt - CNN.com

(CNN) -- When Galaxy Airlines Flight 203 with 71 passengers and crew crashed shortly after takeoff from Reno, Nevada, in 1985, there was only one survivor: George Lamson Jr.

The CNN Films documentary "Sole Survivor," features Lamson and others who've struggled after being the only survivors of large plane crashes.

The ordeal often includes a huge emotional burden. In the film, Lamson reaches out to fellow sole survivors, who open up about their complex feelings related to survivorship.

"Why didn't my brother survive? Why didn't anybody, you know, why me?" asks Cecelia Cichan, the sole survivor of a 1987 plane crash in Michigan.

These kinds of unanswerable questions reflect our natural inclination to look for meaning in experiences, and to have our life stories make sense, said Dr. Charles Raison, CNN's mental health expert and associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Arizona.

Disasters that take the lives of everyone involved except for one may leave a survivor feeling guilty for receiving the gift of continued life when no one else did. They might not believe they deserved it, Raison said...

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