Three years ago today Meredith and I were landing at Kennedy Airport, on a flight from London, at precisely the same time a couple of hundred other passengers were experiencing an altogether less agreeable experience of landing in the middle of the Hudson River!
The plane had hit a large flight of birds just after taking off from La Guardia Airport which disabled its engines and forced the pilot to take the perilous decision to use the Hudson River as a “runway”.
Using nearby Newark International Airport wasn’t an option–it was too far.
This is a video reconstruction of the event.*
All 155 people aboard Flight 1549 — 150 passengers and five crew — survived the crash-landing, thanks to the experience and cool of the pilot–Chesley Sullenberger III.
He was hailed as a hero and was interviewed countless times in the media, in the weeks following the crash landing .
In one TV appearance he told Katie Curic of CBS TV:
“One way of looking at this might be that for 42 years, I’ve been making small, regular deposits in this bank of experience: education and training. And on January 15 the balance was sufficient so that I could make a very large withdrawal.”
He retired from US Airways and its predecessor airline after 30 years with them on March 3, 2010.
After the trauma of 9/11–a good news story for New York City.