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‘Miracle on the Hudson’ air survivors celebrate five years later | New York Post

‘Miracle on the Hudson’ five years later. Some of the crew and passengers of US Airline Flight 1549 toast on the Hudson River where their plane emergency landed five years ago. Erik Pendzich/Demotix. Getty Images North America. Erik Pendzich/Demotix. Erik Pendzich/Demotix. Erik Pendzich/Demotix. Passengers wait to be rescued after US Airways 1549 glided onto the Hudson River on January 15, 2009. January 15, 2014 marks the fifth anniversary of “The Miracle on the Hudson,” when Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger made a perfect emergency landing on the Hudson River after his plane hit a flock of geese. Miraculously, all 155 people aboard his jet landed safely. AP. Reuters. Reuters. Reuters. Reuters. Reuters. Reuters. Reuters. EPA. Reuters. Tomas E. Gaston. Getty Images. Getty Images. Tomas E. Gaston. Captain Chesley ‘Sully’ Sullenberger was the pilot who brought the crippled US Airways jet to a textbook emergency landing on New York City’s Hudson River. He retired in 2010. Survivors of the “Miracle on the Hudson” marked Wednesday’s fifth anniversary of the amazing splash landing by toasting their good fortune on one of the ferries used in the river rescue that saved everyone aboard the ill-fated flight. About a half-dozen passengers joined hero pilot Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger III and co-pilot Jeff Skiles for a brief cruise on the George Washington, one of seven New York Waterway ferries that responded to the emergency. The group, which also included ferry workers and Sullenberger’s wife and family, hoisted glasses of champagne near the spot where US Airways Flight 1549 landed on Jan. 15, 2009. They then let out a hearty cheer to celebrate how they avoided death in the river’s icy waters. The Airbus A320 was disabled in midair by a flock of geese that got sucked into its engines. “We have much to be thankful for,” Sullenberger said. New York Waterway Chairman Arthur Imperatore praised Sullenberger for landing the A320 on the river after gliding the jet just 900 feet over the George Washington Bridge — but added that he probably had some help from above. “There’s no question that the ditching was an extraordinary and very skillful procedure that involved some degree of luck, because the river had been frozen only a few days before,” Imperatore said. “I think the hand of God was at work that day.” Sullenberger, who has since ­retired, said his heroic landing — which took place after he coolly announced, “This is the captain. Brace for impact” — “only solved the biggest problem of the day.” “We then had to find a way to get 155 people out of the Hudson River to safety on a day when the air temperature was 21 degrees, the water was 38 degrees and many had gotten wet,” he said. “Fortunately, without waiting for any official notification, on their own initiative, New York Waterway employees observed Flight 1549 landing, radioed their vessels and began to turn them toward us.” “We can’t thank them enough, the captains and crew of all the vessels who came to our aid when we very much needed ­every bit of help that they could give us,” he added. The marine rescue, during which ferry crews grabbed 143 people, with the FDNY and Coast Guard saving the rest — was the most successful in aviation history. Denise Lockie, who was sitting in seat 2C, said, “I’m just thankful that I’m here.”
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