Today is The Anniversary of The ‘Miracle on The Hudson’
It was on this date in the year of 2009 that I was just wrapping up eating my lunch and ready to head back to work when I looked up at the TV and saw the most amazing thing. There was an airplane floating in the Hudson River in New York. If you too were near a television you were watching the incredible rescue of 155 people from the icy Hudson River in New York City. It was a Thursday, January 15, 2009 at approximately 2:30 pm (ct) when US Airways Flight 1549 crash landed in the Hudson River. The aircraft just left New York’s LaGuardia Airport for Charlotte, North Carolina. Moments after takeoff, the plane struck a flock of Canadian Geese during its initial climb. The result was a total loss of engine power for the plane forcing it to be flown as a glider.
The Captain was 57 year old Chesley B. “Sully” Sullenberger, a veteran of nearly 20-thousand hours of flying commercially, a retired Air Force fighter pilot, a safety expert and ironically, a former glider pilot. Sullenberger along with 49 year old First Officer Jeffrey B. Skiles safely managed to land the aircraft in the Hudson River some 6 minutes after takeoff. The conversation with the air traffic controller is riveting.
In what was considered a miracle, the plane did not break up on impact and once its momentum waned it started to float with rescue boats from both New York City and Weehawken, New Jersey heading towards the aircraft. With rescue ferries and watercraft around the plane and helicopters flying above it, the passengers started exiting the emergency doors above the wings.
In one of the most memorable images I have ever witnessed in my lifetime, there stood the passengers on the wings of the plane waiting to be rescued. That day 155 people experienced a plane crash and all 155 survived with only 5 injuries (2 serious and 3 minor). The story of this miraculous event led to a movie called “Sully” starring Tom Hanks as Captain Sullenberger.
The 155 people all have their own story to tell about their experiences and so did all Americans who watch this incredible event which will forever be known as the “Miracle on the Hudson” on this date in 2009.