Friday, January 16, 2009

Miracle on the Hudson

Well, this story may be redundant to any reader that watches or reads news, but there was an incredible event that happened yesterday afternoon in New York.

Chesley B. "Sully" Sullenberger III was piloting a commericial jetliner for US airways with over 150 passengers on board when his plane had a "double bird strike" shortly after takeoff from New York's LaGuardia airport.

With the loss of both engines, he made a split second decision to put the plane down in the Hudson River. The most recent reports are that he had been offerred to return to LaGuardia-an earlier report stated that request had been denied and he had been routed to New Jersey. In any case, he quickly realized that he would be unable to make the New Jersy terminal, (in a residential neighborhood), and chose to put the plane down in the Hudson River.

Miraculously, all the passengers and crew escaped alive. Photos on the news showed the plane half-sunk in the river, with folks standing ankle deep in water on the wing. It looked as if they were standing on the water.

The water was 36 F and the air temps were 20F. Commuter ferries and coast guard vessels along with other emergency vessels rushed to their aid, pulling everyone to safety. The plane drifted 4 miles in the current before everyone was saved.

I had a lot of thoughts on the subject. One was, when I have flown and the attendents are covering the emergency procedures at the beginning of the flight, I have always chuckled inside at the directions for a water landing. Because I always thought that in the case of a water landing, you wouldn't need those life vests and rafts because the plane would break up and you would pretty well die instantly. Guess I was wrong about that one.

The other thought was about the plane that crashed in the Potomac river, as an example. 5 people survived that one. It was mostly body recovery. Turns out that crash was 27 years ago almost to the day.

Jee-maniny. What a story!

I was moved to tears this am when I read that one passenger had just enough time to text her husband, "my plane is crashing." Hubby spent a frantic 30 minutes trying to find out her fate.

Well, I suppose the new most popular boy name will be "Chesley", or "Sully".

Thank you, Chesley B. "Sully" Sullenberger III, for a miraculously talented landing in an emergency. I am sure you would also thank your co-pilot, Jeff Skiles and crew-as I am sure many folks are thanking all of you right now!

1 comment:

Velvet Ginger said...

I thought it was a miracle of quick thinking! Was so relieved to hear the outcome!