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On January 15, 2009, a miracle occurred: a plane crashed in the Hudson River in New York, and all 155 passengers survived.

Flight1549BatteryPark2_crop

Flight 1549 being pulled out of the Hudson

 

US Airways Flight 1549 was supposed to fly from LaGuardia to Charlotte Douglas Airport. However, the airplane struck a flock of geese within three minutes of takeoff and lost thrust in both engines. Disaster appeared to be waiting to swallow the crew and passengers whole, but Captain Chesley Sullenberger (a.k.a. Sully) gave the call to brace for impact and crashed the plane into the Hudson. Water landing are rare, tricky, and rarely successful. The order was given for evacuation, and Sullenberger personally oversaw the evacuation, being among the last to exit the plane. Rescue came shortly after the rough landing, and all 155 passengers survived, with very few  injuries. The investigation of the incident showed that both engines had become inoperable due to the bird strike, and the stimulation tests taken proved that, accounting for the “human factor”, safely landing the plane on an airport was unlikely. Sullenberger became a hero and famous nationwide for his actions, and retired from flying the following year after being acknowledged at such events as the Super Bowl.

A movie titled Sully was released last year depicting the tragedy that didn’t happen featuring Tom Hanks as Captain Chesley Sullenberger and Aaron Eckhart as First Officer Jeff Skiles.

The heroics of Sullenberger and his decisions to immediately turn on the auxiliary power unit and land the plane in the Hudson probably saved the lives of all the passengers and crew on board, and this will not be forgotten. And let’s face it, it’s nice to have something good happen to New York involving planes crashing, wouldn’t you agree?

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