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January 15th, 2009
09:11 PM ET

Evening Buzz: "Miracle on the Hudson"

The New York Fire Department rescued passengers from the downed plane in the Hudson River.

The New York Fire Department rescued passengers from the downed plane in the Hudson River.

Maureen Miller
AC360° Writer

What a day its been here in the AC360° newsroom!  Around 3:30pm, I was sitting at my desk, about to eat a late lunch, when all of a sudden on the local news stations here in New York I saw the live pictures of the U.S. Airways plane in the middle of the Hudson River.

I'm used to seeing boats in the river, but not a plane. I live across the river in New Jersey and from time to time I take a ferry on the river to Manhattan. The passengers on Flight 1549 were terrified, and I bet so were the people on ferry boats and other vessels in the river. After all, planes are built to land on runaways; not rivers.

The 155 passengers and crew members rescued today are alive due to the brave actions by the pilot and co-pilot. And, we can't forget the ferries that came to the site to help get everyone to dry land. It was strangers helping strangers.  At a news conference this evening, the governor of New York called it the "Miracle on the Hudson."

Tonight the plane is tied up along the river in Lower Manhattan.

The other remarkable twist to this story are the reports that small birds brought down this big plane. We'll dig into that angle and have all the latest developments.

We'll also play part of President Bush's farewell speech tonight to the American people and look at the drama unfolding in Washington ahead of President-elect Obama's inauguration on Tuesday.

All those stories and more starting at 10pm E.T.
Hope you can join us.


Filed under: Maureen Miller • The Buzz
soundoff (19 Responses)
  1. Max

    Thank God for the pilot and co-pilot, crew and all the passengers on board that all kept their heads and survived this wreck- well especially the pilot and co-pilot.
    Just a stupid question, why do they build an airport in a migaratory path of geese- it's their instinct to fly in this path. Why build an airport in the path? I know stupid question- just asking.
    I'm thankful everyone made it off safely- it is a miracle!

    January 16, 2009 at 1:37 am |
  2. Kathleen

    Google "Gimli Glider" and find a great backstory to this one. In 1983 a Boeing 767 ran out of fuel and glided for hundreds of miles to an abandoned airstrip, only to discover it was being used as a racetrack. The link is that Capt. Pearson was also trained as a glider pilot, just like Sully. All survived.

    January 16, 2009 at 1:31 am |
  3. Sam in GA

    I don't want to diminish this pilot's heroics but he did his job just like any pilot would have. What stands out in my mind is how valuable our pilots are. Our value system has changed over the past few decades. Pilots are highly trained individuals who protect our lives every day. They have sacrificed pay and union benefits for the sake of struggling airlines. They are highly paid and they deserve it. Every time I get on a plane I say a prayer as I board and thank the crew on the way out. The next time you buy a service or product think about the value of your purchase. *smile*

    January 16, 2009 at 12:46 am |
  4. Steve~Beaufort,SC

    I keep forgetting to mention this in my posts but everyone @ CNN is doing a nice job reporting tonight. As an airline pilot there is always so much said by the media that many of us flight crew have to shake our heads at. (during aircraft & airline reporting.)
    Keep up the good work!

    PS: If you see a bird outside your window as an airline passenger it's a good thing... it's already passed behind you! 🙂

    January 15, 2009 at 11:55 pm |
  5. Steve~Beaufort,SC

    Tim, even really thin wire mesh would disrupt too much airflow on the amount of air intake a jet engine needs at extreme flight levels. They also just wouldn't stand up to bird strikes at airspeeds that are still at 270ish below 10,000 feet. (these speeds are greater than 3/4's the speed of sound at higher altitudes...) Icing conditions would be a problem for these screens too, sure you could heat them but then you are adding extra ice into the engine that you would not have collected otherwise.... There's no real easy solution except keeping your eyes open at the lower altitudes and even then overtaking birds at those speeds comes up soooo fast you barely have time to flinch... I've seen it first hand dozens of times during my 16,000 hrs of flight time.

    January 15, 2009 at 11:33 pm |
  6. Ms. Franklin

    For the crew, passengers, families and friends of flight 1549-May God be with you!

    Miracle on the Hudson

    Us airways flight 1549, a 320 air bus
    Took of just beautifully without a fuss
    Up above in the skies, headed south
    The pilot radioed, I strike some birds without a doubt
    There was loud bang and the smell of smoke
    This is a serious situation, not a joke
    It’s an emergency where can I land
    In this very tough situation the pilot crafted his plan
    Over the George Washington bridge just about 900 feet
    The water below the plane will meet
    In New York City’s twenty degrees
    The passengers were all a freeze
    A very skilled pilot in the cockpit
    He knew his craft and executed it with wit
    Commercial ferries, police, fire, and coast guard boats
    Keep the airplane passengers afloat
    One hundred and fifty-five and everyone on board is still alive
    I’m telling you this is no jive
    They are all doing well after being treated
    Their families and friends await them to be greeted
    Incidents like this make us all quiver
    It is a miracle on the Hudson River

    By: G. Franklin, Ft. Worth, Texas

    January 15, 2009 at 11:32 pm |
  7. Aviva Michelle Lee

    By all indications, my Great Great Great Grandfather was an enslaved man who was drowned in the Peedee River in NC. The Peedee is a beautiful river and it makes me sad that it was used for such brutality. Now, so close to the Inauguration, a different river was used by clear thinking and courageous human beings to save 155 lives. I hope this is the beginning of many refreshing changes for humankind. Looking at history, we are ALL "lucky to be alive." Perhaps that is the message.

    Incidently my dad is a retired USAIR pilot and NC native.

    January 15, 2009 at 11:25 pm |
  8. Sharma

    I was praying aso hard that everyone gets off that flight safe and miraculosly they did, but unlike many on board on that flight, I am not as brave and couldnt stop crying watching CNN and couldnt help wondering what would have happened if this was not Hudson river and help was not so easily accessible? Then what? was a rescue operation possible if this was not Hudson river next to NYC?

    January 15, 2009 at 11:22 pm |
  9. patti

    This story, With a happy ending. Thank the good Lord above. The pilot is HERO. I would fly on any plane with him. And the geese WE have invaded there space just like everything. So they need to learn to walk.

    January 15, 2009 at 11:21 pm |
  10. Kim

    Captain Sullenberger,
    Thank You, for the tremendous effort in saving the lives of your passengers and crew. Undoughtedly You will say "I was just doing my job", but you saved many people from great greif and despair. You and your crew made the right decisions at the right time and saved lives in the air and on the ground. Your experience as a mllitary,comercial, and private class pilot , as well as a husband and father, assuredly contributed. Many people will scrutinize your actions and second geuss your decisions, but the final outcome will stand in histiry and speak for itself. I, for one, think you deserve The Destinguisned Flying Cross!

    January 15, 2009 at 11:09 pm |
  11. lynne Viera

    a happy ending for New York. Hooray. New yorkers have been through so much. Thank god this turned out okay.

    January 15, 2009 at 10:39 pm |
  12. Tim

    why dont they put some sort of covering or screens over the planes engines so birds cant fly into them? seems like an easy fix and a quick solution so this horrible event wont happen again.

    Tim K. San Diego

    January 15, 2009 at 10:26 pm |
  13. Joncollin

    Thank God for the miracle on the Hudson. God knows we have needed good news these days, here finally is proof that he is still watching over us!

    January 15, 2009 at 10:17 pm |
  14. ron essel

    if all the hunters stopped shooting at the geese around my lake , and the rest of long island, they would settle in the lakes and estuaries instead of moving on to nyc where more disasters could take place. hunters are forcing geese and other birds to form huge flocks that move towards nyc due to less hunters around the nyc area.

    January 15, 2009 at 9:51 pm |
  15. Pati Mc

    Not often are we afforded the chance to say "It's a miracle". Today we were.

    May God Bless Mr. Sullenberger, the crew and all of the heroes that unselfishly came to the rescue without regard for their own safety.

    January 15, 2009 at 9:46 pm |
  16. Kathi Fullerton Ca

    CNN Hero of the year Mr. Sulley Sullemberger.

    January 15, 2009 at 9:39 pm |
  17. Clarence Albuquerque

    The tactile maneuvering of the the pilot was just incredible...congratulations.

    January 15, 2009 at 9:33 pm |
  18. Rizwan Siddiqui

    My Salute to Mr.Sullemberger. He is our Hero . he saved so many lives on the plane and on the ground.

    January 15, 2009 at 9:30 pm |
  19. Betty Ann, Nacogdoches, TX

    Sounds like a movie. A happy ending movie. Thank God!

    January 15, 2009 at 9:17 pm |