2009: The Miracle on the Hudson
If you’ve ever hit a goose with your car, Captain Chelsey B. “Sully” Sullenberger can feel your pain. US Airways Flight 1549 took off from New York’s LaGuardia AIrport on January 15, 2009. As the Airbus A320 climbed out of New York the plane ran into a flock of Canadian geese, sucking multiple birds into the jet turbines. Both engines were knocked out with the plane only 2,800 feet in the air.
With no power and little time, Sullenberger decided his only option was to ditch in the Hudson River. The passengers were told to “brace for impact” as the Airbus passed less than 900 feet above the George Washington Bridge. Flight 1549 hit the water at about 150 mph tearing open the underside of the fuselage.
After the plane came to a rest, Sullenberger calmly left the flight deck and ordered the passengers and crew to evacuate. Water was quickly filling the aircraft as it drifted along in the river’s current. A panicked passenger made matters worse by opening one of the aft emergency exits, allowing more water to enter. Still, all one hundred people on board were swiftly evacuated to the aircraft’s wings and to inflatable emergency slides. In spite of freezing temperatures, nearby boats quickly responding to the scene were able to rescue all aboard. With no loss of life, Flight 1549 became known as the “Miracle on the Hudson.”