The Miracle on the Hudson, which occurred on January 15, 2009, had its anniversary yesterday. At that time, a US Airways A320-214 carrying 155 passengers took off from LaGuardia Airport in New York. A minute and a half after takeoff, the plane started to descend. How did the pilot manage to safely land the aircraft and save every passenger?
Although the exact reason of the disaster is still unknown, it is most likely that a flock of birds flew into the plane’s two engines. Initially, air traffic officials granted the pilot’s request to return to the airport in New York. Then he told them he was going to land the jet at Teterboro, New Jersey, which was closer. Following that, we lost contact with him.
Flight 1549 passengers reported feeling the airbus tremble as it hit the flock, hearing a loud pop, smelling burning, and in some cases seeing fire through the portholes. The pilot said over the speakerphone a moment later, “Settle in for impact! A water landing is taking place.”
The plane, which had managed to ascend to an altitude of roughly a kilometer, started to descend directly over the George Washington Bridge and descended to the surface of the Hudson River, which was seen to those in high-rise buildings close to the river. One of the witnesses claimed that the airbus made such a loud splash and splashed up so much water that he initially mistook it for a crash and did not know what had happened. Another person believed it to be a replay of September 11, 2001 when he observed a plane coming down from his office window.
The passengers started to climb out of the aircraft onto the wings and roof as it started to slowly sink once they recognized that the sinking attempt had been successful. Along with the Coast Guard and privately operated ferries that travel the Hudson River, rescue and police boats sprang into action right away. Divers were flown to the scene by helicopter while wearing special suits to protect them from the cold.
The main feeling was that no one had perished as a result of the catastrophe. 78 of the 155 passengers were reportedly harmed, but most of them actually suffered from frostbite because it was a frigid day, New York’s temperature dropped to minus eight degrees Celsius, and the water temperature, where some passengers spent enough time, was just over zero.