Miracle on the Hudson Revisited


It was a decade ago on January 15, 2009 that the famous incident occurred on the Hudson River. The flight was bound for a crash but due to Captain’s ability and experience, the fatal accident got thwarted. There was not even a single fatality, though plane did experience the adversity out of it.

I remember it was the time of my MBA days and I had come back from the campus. Since the T.V was turned on, the news switch to the happening at the Hudson. The CNN and BBC were all over the news and showcased the latest developments every hour as well.


The US Airways flight 1549 had departed from New York. Captain Sullenburger was on control and was supported by the first officer Skiles. It was Airbus 320 plane where 155 people were on board. The flight was headed towards Seattle from New York. Hardly three to five minutes into the flight near New Jersey, flock of geese came over.

The Captain was simply amazed to find them. The thrust from the engines sucks them in and engines simply die down. There is only some energy left in them to make the plane move on for few minutes only. The Captain instantly gets in touch with the control tower for further course of action. At the same time, he deliberates the next plan of action as well.

He wants to land at the nearest airport as soon as possible. However, due to traffic he is not allowed to for the landing. Since the engines died, due to loss in power. The Captain did not have option and enough time to deduce a safe course. So, instead of panicking, he asks co-pilot to go for ditching over Hudson where they were already flying above.

The first pilot was also going through standard operations procedures side by side. Yet, he followed Captain’s instructions and knew the need of it too. The plane simply was descending and the descent was becoming faster. The Captain with his skills manage to balance the quick, steep descent to avoid fatal crash. Luckily, when they had crossed the Hudson Bridge, Captain announced the passengers to go for brace position.

The brace position is putting your head in front of you while being placing your hands flat on the thighs. In few seconds, the plane ditched on the river. Within seconds, the cabin crew were active to go for the next plan of action.

The passengers were requested to leave from the exit door towards the wings. Some managed to take their handbags or the laptop. In the meanwhile, naval and other rescue teams had been alerted. The tug boats had begun to arrive on the spot. Many helicopters had moved as well.

The plane was sinking and would have sunk completely in 30 minutes. Since passengers had not panicked, they were following orders easily. All the passengers first got aboard the boats safely. Followed by the Cabin crew and then the two captains. They reached safely to the secured place. Majority got treated for minor injuries at the hospital too.

Later, a movie named ‘Scully’ was produced that showed what actually had taken place. It was written by Warner Bros and got launched in 2016.

Latest Development

At Charlotte, an event took place to commemorate the incident. All the passengers and Captain Sullenberger gathered at the aviation museum for the celebratory toast. Everyone recalled the moments, feeling poignant but relieved at the same time.

Cool Fact

Since the last decade, 50 children and grandchildren got added to the families of those that had traveled on the US Airways Flight 1549.