They Were on a Plane That Diverted on 9/11. Love Followed

CNN tells the story of Nick Marson and Diane Kirschke's unlikely meeting
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 11, 2021 2:55 PM CDT
They Were on a Plane That Diverted on 9/11. Love Followed
In this Saturday, Sept. 15, 2001, file photo, the Statue of Liberty stands in front of a smoldering lower Manhattan at dawn, seen from Jersey City, NJ.   (AP Photo/Dan Loh, File)

Nick Marson and Diane Kirschke have known each other for 20 years—pretty much to the day. The two were on a Continental flight from London to Houston on 9/11 and ended up diverting to the tiny town of Gander in Newfoundland, Canada. After 24 hours stuck on their plane with minimal news of what had happened (the few on board who had cell phones didn't have Internet or international coverage), they both ended up at a shelter about 30 miles away. Their first conversation was about the smell of the blankets they were given (she said "mothballs," he responded, "camphor.") That led to conversations, which led to them choosing cot spots next to each other, which led to long walks—they were together so much that they were asked how their "international marriage" worked (she hailed from Texas, he from England).

In reality, both were divorcees, but not for long. After fives days together they boarded the bus that would return them to the airport—and Nick's kiss on Diane's forehead emboldened her to kiss him back. They spent some more time together in Houston; Nick returned in October and proposed, via an eager phone call made from his car, in November. They married in September 2002 and picked the obvious honeymoon spot: Newfoundland, where they were surprised with a "full-blown wedding reception." Writing for CNN, Francesca Street notes that the two declined media interviews on their story until 2009. "We were suffering from what's called survivor's guilt," explains Nick. "We didn't feel comfortable with what we'd found in the wake of so many disasters." (Read the full piece, which explains how their story became part of the musical Come From Away.)

Stories to sink your teeth into.
Get our roundup of longform stories every Saturday.
Sign up
Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.