Updated: 6:15 p.m. Tuesday, June 9, 2009 | Posted: 4:51 p.m. Tuesday, June 9, 2009
Charlotte Passengers Testify At 'Miracle On The Hudson' Hearing
WASHINGTON, D.C. —
Several passengers from Charlotte who were on US Airways Flight 1549, which crashed in what became known as the “Miracle on the Hudson,” made the trip to Washington Tuesday.
The National Transportation Safety Board began a three-day hearing into the crash, and Capt. Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger gave dramatic testimony about the crash and his own reactions to the situation. Asked about his calm radio demeanor, he said, laughing, “If you think I wasn’t startled, you misunderstand.”
One passenger described one of the plane’s engines after the collision with a flock of Canada geese that brought the aircraft down, “My best description of that engine was almost a bonfire.”
Investigators combed through details about what went right and what could have gone wrong. They noted that the emergency rafts aboard were not sufficient for all 155 passengers. They were saved by the facts that the plane stayed afloat so people could wait on the wings and that help arrived so quickly.
They also gave a lot of credit to the quick thinking and skillful handling by Sullenberger. Passenger Alicia Shuford, from Charlotte, said, “His calm demeanor, it was soothing today and soothing during the crash. Had we not had a stellar pilot like Sully I think the outcome would have been different.”
Another passenger from Charlotte, Tracy Wolsko, said, “I’m here for closure. I’m a fearful flier and I need to have trust in the process, so I’m here to see it and move on and continue living my life.”
Over the next few days, the NTSB will be looking more closely at standards for water landings and cabin safety, including the raft capacity issue and whether engines should be better able to handle bird strikes.