10 years had passed since the “Miracle on the Hudson,” in which Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger miraculously landed a US Airways plane on the Hudson River when it looked like it would crash.
Even after a decade has passed, listening to the sounds coming from Sullenberger’s cockpit is still extremely unsettling.
The two engines of US Airways flight 1549 were both damaged when it went down in the afternoon of January 15, 2009, along with a group of Canada geese. After realizing that he would not be able to make it back to LaGuardia Airport, Sullenberger, an experienced fighter pilot in the United States Air Force, landed the plane in the Hudson River, where he was able to save the lives of everyone aboard the aircraft.
Even though there were no deaths due to the incident, listening to the audio from the cockpit is still very disturbing.
“My name is Cactus 1549. Hit the birds. Both of our engines have lost thrust. “We’re heading back to LaGuardia,” Sullenberger says calmly, adding, “We could finish up in the River.”
The response from the air traffic supervisor is that Sullenberger has been permitted to make an emergency landing at LaGuardia. Still, the captain reports that he is “unable” to do so. After that, the controller mentions that the plane might be able to land at the nearby Teterboro Airport in New Jersey, but Sullenberger responds, “We can’t do it. “We’ll be in the Hudson.”
“Cactus 1549, radar contact is lost,” the recording concludes chillingly.
In a later recording, the controller can be heard calling for the help of emergency agencies.
“Send me a police helicopter… right now,” he can be heard shouting. “You can get anyone. You direct them to the Lincoln Tunnel. We had a cactus Airbus crash into the water… He went down the river, close to the Intrepid.”
Sullenberger, now 67, has been lauded as a hero and is possibly the world’s most famous pilot. He struggled at first to deal with the hero title.
“I rejected the H word at first,” he said in 2016. “But, I’ve come to appreciate people’s want to feel the way they do about this incident and, by implication, about myself.”
Sullenberger stays in touch with many of the people he helped save, including passengers and crew.
“There were no extraneous thoughts in those few seconds that we had. I didn’t allow myself to, nor did I have any want to. I never considered my family. “I never thought about anything other than managing the flight path and fixing each difficulty one at a time until we had eventually addressed them all,” Sullenberger said on the tenth anniversary. “I consider what we did and what everyone else did. All of the puzzle parts have to fit together. This gang of strangers had to rise to the occasion and ensure every life was saved.”
Ten years have passed, but we will never forget what Captain Sullenberger did. You can listen to the cockpit communication for yourself down below.
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