On the afternoon of Jan. 15, 2009, US Airways Flight 1549 departed New York City’s LaGuardia Airport for Charlotte, North Carolina, before striking a flock of Canadian geese shortly after takeoff. At the moment of impact, both engines of the Airbus A320, carrying 150 passengers and five crew members, lost power over New York City and began to lose altitude.
After quickly realizing that the aircraft would not be able to reach any nearby airports, pilots Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger and Jeffrey Skiles made the decision to ditch the plane over the Hudson River, a risky emergency maneuver that entails gliding the aircraft to a stop over an open body of water.
What became known as the Miracle on the Hudson was hardly that. Sullenberger’s previous training and experience as a US Air Force fighter pilot had prepared him for such an emergency and he was able to use it to safely guide the plane to a landing on the Hudson River. Because of the quick thinking and action of the crew members, all 155 passengers aboard survived the crash landing.
These pictures show the harrowing scenes of the crash and the inspiring moments of relief in the days that followed.