Ten years have passed since Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, better known as “Sully,” managed to miraculously land a US Airways jet on the Hudson River in what has come to be known as the “Miracle On The Hudson.”
Even after ten years, listening to the audio from Sullenberger’s cockpit is still terrifying.
The engines of US Airways flight 1549 were destroyed when aircraft crashed with a group of Canadian geese in the afternoon of January 15, 2009. Former U.S. Air Force fighter pilot Sullenberger was able to save the lives of everyone on board the plane by making an emergency landing in the Hudson River after realising he could not make it back to LaGuardia Airport.
Although no lives were lost in the tragedy, listening to the cockpit audio is nonetheless unsettling.
The Cactus 1549, please. Strike birds. Both of our engines’ thrust has been lost. Sullenberger calmly informs the air traffic controller, “We’re turning back to LaGuardia. We may end up in the Hudson.”
Sullenberger is authorised to make an emergency landing at LaGuardia, the air traffic controller responds, but the captain says he is “unable.” The flight’s controller then suggests that it land at the neighbouring Teeterboro airport in New Jersey, to which Sullenberger replies, “We can’t do it. We will be near the Hudson.
The terrifying tape concludes, “Cactus 1549, radar contact is lost.”
The controller summons emergency services in a later recording.
He can be heard stating, “Get me a police department helicopter… right away.” “You may hire anyone. You immediately direct them to the Lincoln Tunnel. A cactus Airbus crashed into the water as we were there. He plunged into the river close to the Intrepid.
Sullenberger, who is now 67, has since been lauded as a hero and is possibly the most well-known pilot in history. He initially found it difficult to accept the hero designation.
In 2016, he admitted, “I initially resisted the H word.” I have, however, developed an understanding of why people feel the way they do about this event and, consequently, about myself.
Today, Sullenberger still keeps in touch with a large number of the travellers he helped.
I didn’t think of anything unrelated during the brief time we shared. I had no desire to and didn’t permit myself to do it. I never gave my family a thought. On the tenth anniversary, Sullenberger stated, “I never thought about anything other than controlling the flight path and resolving each issue as it arose until, finally, we had resolved them all. “I consider what we did as well as what everyone else did. The puzzle has to be completed. These strangers had to step up to the plate and ensure that every life was saved.
What Sullenberger did ten years ago, we will never forget! Below, you may hear the cockpit call for yourself.