Some passengers still trying to thank all the rescuers 15 years after Miracle on the Hudson

Anthony Johnson Image
Monday, January 15, 2024
Miracle on the Hudson passengers thank rescuers 15 years later
Anthony Johnson has the story.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- Monday marks 15 years since what has come to be called the Miracle on the Hudson.

A flock of birds took out the engine of a U.S. Airways plane - leaving Captain Sully Sullenberger little choice but to make an emergency landing on the Hudson River.

On the west side of Manhattan on Monday, people gathered to honor the brave men and women who saved all the passengers and crew who were on Flight 1549 when it crash-landed in the frigid river.

This was a day to once again thank the Waterway Ferry crews who pulled most passengers to safety, along with the Coast Guard and New York City Fire Department.

The ferry boats arrived on the scene less than two minutes after the plane touched down.

"It was almost like second nature, just dropped the lines and raced to the plane and started pulling people in," said Capt.. Manny Liba of the Moira Smith.

The Waterway captains say the training they received after 9/11 helped them in their rescue efforts 15 years ago and they worked as a team.

Dave Sanderson was one of those passengers who was interviewed the night of the crash in the hospital after he was treated for hypothermia.

Now he is celebrating those who helped save his life.

"I was inside the plane waist-deep in 36 degree water for about seven minutes until the plane shook, and when the plane shook I thought the plane was going down, I thought I was going to go down in that moment so that's when I jumped into swim," Sanderson said.

Denise Lockie was another passenger on the flight who wants to thank everyone who helped her, from Red Cross volunteers, nurses, doctors and rescue workers -- because she still has trouble recalling every dramatic moment of the Miracle on the Hudson.

"I'm just trying to figure out once I was picked up by a ferry boat, I had a difficult time climbing the rope ladder because my fingernails had broken and my feet were frozen and my hands were frozen," Lockie said.

Fifteen years later, some of the passengers say they are still trying to thank many of the volunteers who helped save them on that fateful day.

RELATED | VAULT: 'Miracle on the Hudson' breaking news coverage from 2009

Watch archive footage from WABC/Eyewitness News showing breaking news coverage of the 'Miracle on the Hudson' -- which happened January 15, 2009.