The top inspirational news story of 2009 was the “Miracle on the Hudson.” On Jan. 15, 2009, US Airways Flight 1549 hit a flock of geese soon after taking off from LaGuardia, causing it to fall into the Hudson River. The pilot told the passengers as it was going down, “This is the captain speaking. Brace for impact.”
Fortunately, he maneuvered the 80-ton aircraft away from a catastrophic crash and landed the airplane on the river with it still intact. The passengers, then made their way onto the wings of the plane to avoid falling into the 20-degree water. Shortly thereafter, an improvised fleet of tour boats, ferries and tugboats came over to the scene. They tossed out life vests and began taking people in.
The pilot, Chesley Sullenberger, twice walked the length of the sinking plane to make sure he was the last to depart. All of the 155 passengers were rescued by level-headed New York waterway operations. One of the persons rescued, Molly Schugel remarked, “The most amazing part was, I saw no pushing, no shoving. I saw nothing but help and compassion.”
New York Gov. David Patterson said, “We had a miracle on 34th Street. I believe now we have a miracle on the Hudson.”