18 January 2009

US Airways Flight 1549

I had seen a little footage of the rescue on the news and a still photograph of the aircraft while it was descending, but I didn’t realize the actual landing of US Airways Flight 1549 had been caught on film by the Coast Guard.  The YouTube video below capture the dramatic scene.

At the 2:03 mark of the video, the plane can be seen gliding in from the left to drop into the Hudson River.  The camera operator zooms in to view the passengers scrambling onto the wings.  It is striking how quickly everything happened.  The passengers are out of the aircraft in remarkably short order, and three boats are almost immediately hastening to the scene. 

The passengers and crew must have performed admirably under the circumstances, but above all, I marvel at the poise that the pilot must have had in such dire straits.  The former fighter pilot, Chesley Sullenberger, III, managed to ditch his Airbus A320 safely in the Hudson River, saving his own life and the lives of 150 passengers and four crew.  

These stories don’t usually have happy endings, so it’s very uplifting to see competence (and not a “miracle,” as some reports absurdly claimed) save the day.

Chesley Sullenberger, III

photo from NY Daily News

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