Hero pilot talks about “pit-of-your-stomach” feeling

Published: February 6, 2009 | 7338th good news item since 2003

Chesley Sullenberger safely landed an airplane in the New York Hudson River in January 2009.

In doing so he kept 155 people on board alive — but also countless others on the ground in the densely populated city.

The airplane had hit a flock of birds and there was no way it was going to stay in the air.

Chesley is a hero, yes? Yes. Sure, sound thinking, long training helped — but who said that doesn’t make you a hero?

But he’s also a regular guy, a common human being who shares those feelings of dread we’re all familiar with.

“It was the worst sickening, pit-of-your-stomach, falling-through-the-floor feeling I’ve ever felt in my life.

I knew immediately it was very bad.

My initial reaction was one of disbelief…

[As for the first responders] Thank you’ seems totally inadequate. I have a debt of gratitude that I fear I may never be able to repay.”
— Chesley Sullenberger, interview CBS

The emergency landing was perfect with Chelsey easing the plane into the river. Had he hit it hard or at the wrong angle, the plane would have broken up, most likely causing human harm, possibly deaths.

Chesley was a honorary guest at President Obama’s inauguration.

Published in Heroes
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