It is not often that a pilot manages to act in such a calm way that he manages to land a plane that has gotten into difficulty through bird strike and saves the lives of all passengers on board. However, this morning, my time this is exactly what happened when a plane with 153 passengers on board crash landed in the Hudson River. It can only be described as a perfect landing.
Flight 1549, headed to Charlotte, North Carolina, was airborne less than three minutes, according to FAA spokeswoman Laura Brown.
The pilot radioed to air traffic controllers that he had experienced a bird strike and declared an emergency, a New Jersey State Police source said.
Sources identified the pilot as Chelsey B. “Sully” Sullenberger.
The pilot thought that the plane might flip over and was expecting the aircraft to break up, but he managed the perfect landing on the water, and the passengers on board managed to escape. The coast guard and passenger ferries were very quick to arrive on the scene and to pick up the stranded passengers.
“I had a long conversation with the pilot,” said New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. “He walked the plane twice after everybody else was off, and tried to verify that there was nobody else on board, and assures us there were not.”
“It would appear that the pilot did a masterful job of landing the plane in the river and then making sure that everybody got out,” Bloomberg said.
The mayor said he did not believe there were any serious injures. Dr. Gabriel Wilson, associated medical director of the emergency room at Roosevelt Hospital, said 55 survivors were checked out and cleared to leave from the scene.
The CNN reports
Passenger Alberto Pinero said that within a few minutes after takeoff, “you just heard a loud bang and the plane shook a bit.”
Passengers could smell smoke, and “the plane just started turning. … We knew something was going on, ’cause look, we were turning back,” he said. Watch passenger say he heard a loud bang »
The plane’s captain came on the speaker and said, ” ‘Brace for impact,’ ” he said. “That’s when we knew we were going down and into the water. We just hit, and somehow the plane stayed afloat and we were able to get on the raft. It’s just incredible right now that everybody’s still alive.”
“We circled around … the captain came on and said, ‘Look, we’re going down. Brace for impact.’ Everyone looked at each other and we said our prayers. I said about five Hail Marys,” said passenger Kolodjay, who is from Norwalk, Connecticut, and was headed to Charlotte to play golf.
Jerry Wallis, who said he was a private pilot, said he watched the plane go into the water.
“I’ve got to tell you, the people flying that airplane deserve all the recognition and commendation they can get,” Wallis said.