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Heroes On The Hudson River

Thursday, January 15, 2009

There are lots of news reports, pundits and commentators calling today’s Hudson River ditching of USAirways Flight 1549, a miracle. That was no miracle, but brilliant flying by the Airbus 320’s Captain, Chesley B. Sullenberger.


Sullenberger is a former U.S. Air Force fighter pilot, he has been flying with USAirways since 1980. Within minutes after takeoff from La Guardia the plane encountered a flock of Canadian Geese, which got sucked into the two giant engines. Both engines quit and all Sullenberger could do was glide the plane to the safest landing possible. His fast thinking and amazing landing was accomplished on the water, in about three minutes!

It was Mr. Sullenberger’s cool and adept flying that saved the lives of the 150 passengers and 4 crew members. He is Hero Number 1. Passengers reported that he was the last to leave the plane, having walked the aisles twice to insure everyone had escaped safely.

Then there was the efficient flight attendants who did exactly as they have been trained – safely get all the passengers out. What about those passengers sitting in the exit rows, whose only responsibility is to remove the exit windows.

Then there was the speedy flotilla of boats there for rescue, Ferrys, tugs, and Coast Guard. This was the perfect coordination of  New York’s first responders – Police, Fire and Harbour.

Finally the other heroes were the passengers of Flight 1549, who all bonded together to help each other and safely evacuate the plane. Among the passengers was an infant as well as a pregnant woman, who went into labour shortly after reaching a hospital. The temperature was 18 degrees and the water was 35 — Everyone Survived!

This was no miracle, but simply a testament to people acting calm in the face of  extreme danger and trained professionals working without any regards to their own safety, to focus solely on those in their charge.


Posted: 2100PT 01/15/09


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One Comment leave one →
  1. Sunday, January 18, 2009 12:53 pm

    I don’t see why there has to be a contradiction between acknowledging a miracle and giving credit to the many heroes of the hour . . .
    In general, nature itself is the biggest miracle – the fact that everything goes on without a hitch, that despite the incredible number of things that can go wrong in the universe – both the micro and macrocosm – we still exist and prosper is in itself amazing. Human life, nay reality itself, is miraculous.
    That the people on that flight had such a skilled pilot, is miraculous. Every detail falling in place as it did, is a miracle.

    Just my two cents . . .

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