Passengers say luck, pilot made ‘Hudson miracle’ possible

Friday, January 16, 2009

NEW YORK, Jan 16: They called it the “Miracle on the Hudson”, and Chesley Sullenberger III on Friday became the patron saint of passengers everywhere for guiding his crippled jet to an injury-free landing in the freezing waters off New York.All 155 people on US Airways Flight 1549 climbed onto rescue boats on Thursday, shocked but mainly unscathed, relieved to be alive and singing the praise of former fighter pilot Sullenberger.The carcass of the Airbus A320, tied up at Battery Park of Manhattan on Friday and one wing poking up out of the dark cold river, is now set to become a shrine to Sullenberger’s heroics.The jet had just taken off from New York’s La Guardia airport for Charlotte in North Carolina. But the crew told air traffic controllers that the jet hit a flock of geese which knocked out both engines, US media reported.There was no time to return to La Guardia and no other airport was close enough, so the crew decided to ditch the jet.“They then cleared the George Washington Bridge by about 900 feet, according to controllers, and at a point near the end of West 48th Street in Midtown Manhattan, the plane slid into the river’s smooth, grey waters,” the New York Times reported.


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