‘Miracle on the Hudson’ rescuers reflect on crash as 10th anniversary approaches

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Jan. 15, 2019 will mark 10 years since the “Miracle on the Hudson” – when a U.S. Airways plane made an emergency landing on the Hudson River.

New York Waterways Captain Manny Liba says that he was at his post in Weehawken along the river when Flight 1549 crashed into the icy water of the river.

“At the moment when those doors flipped open and those people jumped out of the plane, we knew this was an emergency,” he says. “Right away we said, ‘Let’s go. Take the lines off.’”

Liba is among seven New York Waterway captains who sprang into action, circling the aircraft with ferries to toss life vests and pull passengers and crew to safety.

Captain Vince Lombardi calls the rescues a defining moment in his life.

“Besides witnessing the birth of your first child and of course your marriage, I don't know what else could compare to it,” Lombardi says.

Pilot Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger was hailed a hero for bringing the plane down after a bird strike knocked out both engines. All 155 people on board the plane survived. The New York Waterways crews rescued 143 of those passengers.

New York Waterway founder Arthur Imperatore, 93, says that he believes that the actions of his staff were a second miracle.

“The miracle of our people being positioned just at the right time of the day, in the right place,” he says.

The event inspired the 2016 movie “Sully,” starring Tom Hanks as Sullenberger.

The actual aircraft is on display at the Carolina's Aviation museum in Charlotte, North Carolina. The museum has scheduled a series of events commemorating the 10-year anniversary.

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