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How the Hudson River Emergency Landing Brought Hope to America

How the Hudson River Emergency Landing Brought Hope to America

It has been 15 years since an Airbus A320-214 made an emergency landing in the Hudson River in New York. Two travelers talk about their experience of the abyss and redemption.

01/15/2024 | 08:00 minutes


On January 15, 2009, an Airbus A320 took off from New York's LaGuardia Airport. 90 seconds after take off, the plane collided with a flock of wild geese. There is a shudder, then the passengers hear explosions, the smell of kerosene and smoke – and then an eerie silence follows.

Diane Higgins was a passenger at the time. He describes the situation to ZDF:

Then, according to Higgins, came the captain's announcement: “Prepare for hard landing.”

Captain “Sully” Sullenberger achieved the nearly impossible: Five minutes and 42 seconds later, he landed the 75-ton Airbus as a glider in the Hudson River – in front of Manhattan, on the world's most populous island. All 155 people on board survived and were rescued by speedboats.

The passenger on the boat was Janice Crums. “There's a plane in the Hudson. I'm putting people on a boat. Crazy,” Crums tweeted at the time to his 170 followers. In the photo you can see passengers on the wings. “This is the first report of the event,” Krums said.

The emergency landing of an Alaska Airlines flight due to a hole in the wall was not an isolated incident. Other airlines have found flaws in their aircraft.

09.01.2024 | 01:42 minutes


“It changed everything,” Twitter (now called X) co-founder Jack Dorsey told CNBC in 2013.

The “Miracle of the Hudson,” as Diching soon came to be called, was one of the first events seen live by people internationally on social media.

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“Real-time changed the way we see news and how the world experiences it,” said Stephen Saucier of the future Sullenberger Aviation Museum in Charlotte, where the Airbus A320 landed on Hudson.

But the miracle of the Hudson also had a special meaning for New York City and the United States: after the September 11, 2021 attacks and the economic instability after the banking crisis, the emergency landing of water on the Hudson became a symbol. Faith and life.

Fifteen years after the trenches, hero Capt. Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger is honored on the red carpet. “It wasn't a miracle,” he tells ZDF, “but many people came together to help us. That's why we were able to save every life. I'm forever grateful for that.”