‘Miracle on the Hudson’ occurred on this day in history on Jan. 15, 2009

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US Airways Flight 1549 miraculously landed in the Hudson River on this historic day, January 15, 2009.

The maneuver occurred shortly after the US Airways Airbus A320 departed LaGuardia Airport in New York City bound for Charlotte, North Carolina.

Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, along with First Officer Jeffrey Skiles, manned the aircraft, which was newly delivered to US Airways in 1999.

According to simpleflying.com, both pilots had plenty of flying experience at the time

As a former military pilot, Sullenberger had accumulated nearly 20,000 flight hours, including 4,756 hours on the A320.

Skiles, who was newly transferred to the aircraft, has accumulated more than 20,000 flight hours.

The flight departed normally from Queens, New York at 3:26 p.m. in 2009, simpleflying.com found.

Shortly after takeoff – nearly 4.5 miles from the airport – the plane was confronted by a flock of Canadian geese.

Captain Chelsey Sullenberger and Jeff Skiles were in the cockpit during the crash.
Captain Chelsey Sullenberger (right) and Jeff Skiles were in the cockpit during the crash.
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The large flock of birds flew into the pilots’ field of view while some of the geese were swallowed into the engines.

Both engines were immediately affected on impact, with the aircraft hovering just under 3,000 feet.

With a cool, level-headed reaction and quick thinking, Sullenberger took control of the plane Skiles had been flying on takeoff.

The plane had entered a glide 19 seconds after impact when Sullenberger started the APU, also known as the auxiliary power unit. It drives an electrical generator and provides air pressure as described by simpleflying.com.

While attempts to restart the main engines failed, Sullenberger made an emergency call just 22 seconds after the birds struck the plane.

An FDNY boat pulls the crashed plane ashore after the water landing.
An FDNY boat pulls the crashed plane ashore after the water landing.
Getty Images

A recording of the radio message from the cockpit shows that Sullenberger reported the incident calmly.

“This is Cactus 1549, Hit Birds,” he said.

“We lost thrust on both engines. We’re going back to LaGuardia.”

Air traffic control was quick to offer options for an emergency landing at LaGuardia, but Sullenberger figured the plane wouldn’t make it.

The pilots requested to land at Teterboro Airport in New Jersey instead – and were cleared to land on Runway 1.

The wreckage of US Airways Flight 1549 is floating in the Hudson River.
The wreckage of US Airways Flight 1549 is floating in the Hudson River.
Getty Images

As the A320 aircraft flew just 900 feet over the George Washington Bridge, which connects New York and New Jersey, Sullenberger realized that an emergency landing in the Hudson River was the only option, simpleflying.com discovered.

“We might end up in the Hudson,” the pilot radioed.

Air traffic control continued to provide support while Sullenberger and Skiles prepared for a water landing.

“We can’t do that,” Sullenberger replied to incoming landing opportunities.

“We’ll be in the Hudson.”

The plane landed in the Hudson River at 3:31 p.m. According to simpleflying.com, the flight took only five minutes in total.

Ferries helped bring passengers ashore after the crash.
Ferries helped bring passengers ashore after the crash.
Getty Images

The 155 aircraft passengers were evacuated onto the wings and evacuation slides.

According to simpleflying.com, the aircraft was outfitted for extended use over water, which meant there was full life jacket equipment and the exit slides could be detached and used as rafts.

According to the New York Waterway, boats nearby were moving quickly to haul passengers out of the water.

Fourteen New York Waterway ferries responded, rescuing 143 passengers, while the US Coast Guard and FDNY (New York City Fire Department) rescued the 12 other passengers and crew.

New York Waterway considers it the “most successful sea rescue in aviation history” according to its website.

Many of the passengers could have died or suffered from the effects of hypothermia if the ferry crews had not reacted quickly, experts noted.

All passengers were evacuated from the water and the plane at 15:55, just 24 minutes after ditching. All 155 people on board the plane survived the landing.

The maneuver is known as the “Miracle on the Hudson” – as a powerless water landing like this is “extremely dangerous”, as reported by simpleflying.com.

“There are procedures for water landings or ditchings from manufacturers and regulators, but in practice these are rare occurrences,” the website says.

Sullenberger was ranked second to Michelle Obama in Time Magazine’s “Top 100 Most Influential Heroes and Icons of 2009.”

Source link: https://nypost.com/2023/01/15/miracle-on-the-hudson-occurred-on-this-day-in-history-on-jan-15-2009/

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