The safe landing of US Airways Flight 1549 into the Hudson River was nothing short of a miracle.
The jet was left crippled midair after striking a flock of birds within minutes of takeoff from La Guardia Airport. The quick-thinking pilot steered away from a catastrophic crash in the Bronx or in northern Manhattan, and crash-landed all 155 passengers and crew into the Hudson River.
You'd hear thump-thump-thump-thump, and then the pilot came on, and all he said was, 'This is the captain speaking. Brace for impact,' Darren Beck, a 37-year-old marketing executive who survived the accident, told the Washington Post.
We were gaining altitude, everything seemed normal, and there was a very, very loud bang on the left-hand side, almost like something was stuck in a washing machine, Beck, who was seated in 3A said.
Molly Schugel, 32, who sat in a mid-cabin exit row, said there was definitely fear in the plane.
Pilot Chesley B. Sully Sullenberger III, who steered the aircraft to a safety, has been hailed as a hero by aviation experts and political leaders including Gov. David A. Paterson, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and President Bush.
We've had a miracle on 34th Street, Gov. David A. Paterson said at a late-afternoon news conference in Manhattan.
I believe now we've had a miracle on the Hudson. This pilot, somehow, without any engines, was somehow able to land this plane, and perhaps without any injuries to the passengers. This is a potential tragedy that may have become one of the most magnificent days in the history of New York City agencies.