The Mayor of New York Michael Bloomberg has hailed as a hero, the airline pilot who saved the lives of his passengers and crew by landing his stricken aircraft in the freezing waters of the Hudson river.
In what’s being described by the media as a “miracle”, 155 people escaped from the Airbus A320 after the former Air Force fighter pilot Chelsey “Sully” Sullenberger calmly steered the crippled US Airways jet onto the water.
“Hemingway defined heroism once as ‘grace under pressure’ and I think it is fair to say that the captain certainly displayed that yesterday and his actions have inspired millions of people in the city and millions more around the world,” said Bloomberg.
The twin engined jet came down just minutes after take off from New York’s LaGuardia airport. The pilot, with 40 years flying experience – including gliders, radioed in a “double bird strike” which caused the aircraft to lose power completely in both engines. Cabin crew helped passengers to safety. They stood on the plane’s wings awaiting rescue by coast guard vessels. ferries, tugs and helicopters. One person suffered two broken legs in the crash. Seventy eight other people were treated for minor injuries.