Chesley Sullenberger, American Hero – UPDATED

Yesterday’s forced landing of a US Airways jet into the Hudson River brought back dark memories of another plane in the frozen Potomac in 1982. This time the outcome was not fatal. Thanks to the quick thinking, steady hand and cool head of Captain Chesley Sullenberger, all 155 passengers and crew evacuated safely with little to no serious injury.

Drudge captions it as the Miracle on the Hudson. That it is. Captain Sullenberger deserves a medal.

UPDATE: Fausta thinks he and his co-pilot, Jeff Skiles, should get an invitation to the inaugral ball. Amen to that!

Leave it to the Brits to have the best coverage and the highest praise for Sullenberger. Commuter ferries were the first at the scene.

On the New York side of the Hudson River, the ferry Thomas Jefferson had just pulled away the New York Waterways terminal at West 39th Street to head for New Jersey when Capt. Vince Lombardi saw the jet floating in the water.

Minutes later, he pulled his ferry up to the side of the aircraft as he and his 22 commuter passengers rushed to hoist passengers standing on the jet’s wings and floating in life rafts to safety aboard the ferry.

“They were cheering when we pulled up,” Lombardi said. “There were a lot of scared people. A woman was holding her child in a raft.”

He estimated his crew rescued 56 people to safety.

[…] Within minutes of the crash of US Airways Flight 1549, an ad hoc armada of commuter ferries, cruise lines and conventional rescue vessels from the Coast Guard, police and fire departments converged on the scene to execute a picture-perfect rescue of all 155 passengers and crew aboard the aircraft.

[…] In all, 14 New York Waterways ferries, the fleet at full strength for the coming rush-hour crowds, responded to the crash scene. “If it would’ve happened earlier in the day, there wouldn’t have been as many boats,” [Capt. Juan] Rosario said.

As the ferries surrounded the jet, passengers scrambled onto the aircraft’s wings, while others jumped into life rafts. Officials later said no passenger fell into the river and had to be plucked out – everyone went from the jet itself onto the waiting boats.

This continues to give me chill-bumps every time I think about it.

UPDATE II: Commenter John Harper reminds us that US Airways cut their pension plans through bankruptcy, so after years of loyal service, Sully the Hero has no retirement. (End update)

Another hero said goodbye last night. The Anchoress has great round-up on President Bush’s two terms. I believe history will remember him well, regardless of his harsh treatment by the press. Of all the words spoken about him the last few weeks, I think this picture best sums up his accomplishments:

iraqi voter

Thank you, President Bush.



  1. coffee said,

    January 16, 2009 at 5:17 pm

    I’m glad no one was hurt in the crash, sounds like the pilot did a great job

  2. dummidumbwit said,

    January 17, 2009 at 11:26 am

    Truman left office thinking everyone hated his guts, I don’t hate W or Cheney, you may be right??

  3. V.E.G. said,

    January 17, 2009 at 3:35 pm

    Chesley Sullenberger is the William Tell of New York. Tell is a Swiss hero and Sullenberger is of Swiss origin.

  4. John Harper said,

    January 18, 2009 at 8:01 pm

    Sully is a humble guy. He probably won’t leverage all of this attention to help build his Safety Consulting business –

    He should since he no longer has a pension –

    Send him some link love

  5. Obi's Sister said,

    January 20, 2009 at 11:52 am

    Thanks for the info.

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