'Miracle on the Hudson' survivors mark 5 years

by: Tenikka Smith Updated:

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Five years ago Wednesday, Charlotte-bound flight 1549 splash landed in the Hudson River and many of those survivors still live in the Charlotte area.

Eyewitness News spoke to one of them and went to the Carolinas Aviation Museum where the plane at the center of the 'Miracle on the Hudson' is housed.

On January 15, 2009, the plane struck a flock of geese minutes after takeoff and lost engine power. Captain Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger navigated his way into the history books by splash landing the plane in the frigid Hudson River.

There were 155 people on board and everyone survived.

Ben Bostic still has an email from January 15, 2009 confirming his seat on Flight 1549 from New York to Charlotte.

"Just so many little things could have been different and it wouldn't have had the outcome it had," Bostic said. "That's the miraculous thing about it for me, seeing all the little pieces that had to be in place for that to happen."

The plane and details of the miraculous flight are permanently on display at the Carolinas Aviation Museum.

Museum Executive Director Wally Coppinger said, "It's always the wow factor, and you just do kind of stop. You do get emotional about it and it takes your breath away."

It also draws people in.

"It really has tripled our attendance. People come here to see this. This is an iconic artifact," Coppinger said.

Five years later, Bostic said it's not the crash that lingers on his mind but how the experience changed his life and perspective.

"Tomorrow's not something we are guaranteed, so you really should slow down and take advantage of every moment," he said.

Some passengers from Flight 1549 traveled to New York to celebrate with some of the crew.
Bostic and other passengers will meet Wednesday night for dinner in Charlotte.