Ten years ago yesterday, January 15th, 2009, the "Miracle on the Hudson" happened. US Airways Flight 1549 had to make a crash landing into New York's Hudson River shortly after departing New York on it's way to Charlotte, North Carolina after it hit a flock of geese. The geese blew out the engine and all of it's power and forced (now famed) pilot Chesley B. Sullenberger, also known as "Sully" to make an emergency landing.
There were 150 passengers and 3 flight attendants on board the aircraft. The plane took off roughly around 3:25pm and within literally minutes hit a the flock of geese around 3:27pm. Reports say that in the cockpit, just moments before hitting the geese, Pilot "Sully" said to his co-pilot, First Officer Jeffrey B. Skiles, "What a view of the Hudson today". Little did he know he'd be getting an even closer view of the Hudson not long after that comment...
Miraculously (hence the event being titled "Miracle on the Hudson"), all 150 passengers and crew survived and lived to tell the tale. Most of them had minor injuries. There were about 5 who had more serious injuries. It truly was a miracle Pilot "Sully" was able to land the plane into the river safety saving these people's lives. The act prompted a movie made about him where Tom Hanks played him.
One of the 150 passengers, survivor Ben Bostic shared his story of survival and the aftermath, with VB and the WRKO listening audience:
The entire group of passengers had to exit the aircraft through the emergency exits and proceed to stand on the wings or use slides that emptied down into life rafts. Luckily two NY waterway ferries came within minutes and started ushering passengers off the wings first (per Pilot Sully's request as they were in more danger than those in the rafts) and into the rescue boats. All passengers were rescued before 4pm.
In the aftermath of the "Miracle on the Hudson", each passenger received a letter of apology as well as $5,000 for lost baggage and an additional $5,000 if they could prove they had larger losses than that in their luggage. In addition, as expected they did get a refund for their plane ticket.
It was fascinating talking to survivor Ben Bostic and we thank him for joining us today on "VB in the Middle" to tell his story!