NEW YORK (CBS 2) — The images are hard to forget, as two years ago Saturday, a plane with more than 150 people onboard made an emergency landing in the Hudson River.
Some of the survivors took time to remember that fateful day, and shared how the accident has changed their lives.
“It’s a special day today, obviously, for us, because we’re two years old in our new life,” passenger Barry Leonard said.
Two years ago, Leonard was among the 155 people aboard US Airways Flight 1549. The plane made a miracle landing on the Hudson after both of its engines were taken out by a bird strike.
Air traffic controller Patrick Harten was in touch with the crippled jetliner when it made its death-defying descent.
“I lost radar contact on the flight, and at that point I didn’t think anyone had survived,” Harten said. “It was kind of hard to believe that it actually turned out as well as it did.”
Captain Chesley Sullenberger and co-pilot Jeff Skiles have been celebrated for successfully landing the plane without a single fatality. Once it hit the water, passengers and crew got out of the cabin as fast as they could, and nearby boats rushed to their aid.
“We have shared the most unique experience imaginable,” passenger Denise Lockie said.
Those aboard Flight 1549 say the experience has bonded them for life, turning their fellow travelers into a second family.
“We will do anything, for anyone, at any time,” Lockie said.
Captain Sullenberger has retired, and is now working on his second book.
As for the plane, it’s now being bought by the Carolinas Aviation Museum in Charlotte, North Carolina. Charlotte was Flight 1549’s original destination.