Hero 'Miracle On The Hudson' Pilot Says NYC's Safeguards Won't Do The TrickBy Marcia Kramer

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Captain “Sully” has a message for the mayor.

The “Miracle on the Hudson” pilot says putting a garbage transfer station near LaGuardia Airport is a terrible idea, reports CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg gave Capt. Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger the keys to New York City after he ditched his plane in the Hudson River after a bird strike, saving all 155 people on board. On Tuesday, Sullenberger repaid the mayor with a piece of advice.

“Putting a trash facility this close to one of the busiest runways in the nation just doesn’t make sense. It’s really a terrible idea. It should be put much farther away,” said Sullenberger, now CBS News’ aviation expert.

Sullenberger said the city should just move the College Point Marine Transfer Station because garbage attracts birds — lots of birds — and not just the Canada geese that flew into the engine of his plane, US Airways Flight 1549, back in January of 2009.

“Even an enclosed facility is going to attract birds,” Sullenberger said.

However, the city said it is doing everything to ensure that the transfer station is safe, including:

* Installing anti-perching devices

* Enforcing a strict “no feeding wildlife” policy

* Eliminating landscaping that attracts birds

* Hiring a full-time marine biologist to deal with any bird problems that develop

“This facility is fully compatible with airport safety,” said Cas Holloway, the head of the NYC Department of Environmental Conservation. “And that’s because the mitigation measures that the city is going to put in place are really going to make it so that birds aren’t really going to be an issue there.

But Sullenberger dismisses the city’s effort as just a Band-Aid that will be hard to keep in place in an imperfect and “messy” world.

“There will be some trash that will be spilled. It may not be cleaned up right away. Birds are smart and they’ll learn that there’s a source of food there,” Sullenberger said.

Meanwhile, Randy Mastro, the lawyer for the group raising safety concerns, is demanding that the state pull the city’s building permit because it was issued before the bird strike crippled the plane went down in the Hudson.

Adding to the furor, Congressmen Gary Ackerman and Joseph Crowley demanded Tuesday that Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood do his own investigation of the project.

Who do you believe, Capt. “Sully” or the mayor? Please offer your thoughts in the comments section below.

Marcia Kramer

Comments (8)
  1. roger says:

    As the wildlife manager of an airport, Sully is 100% correct about dangers a garbage dump poses so close to runways. It takes a lot of political will for anything like what he proposes ever happens. Another aircraft will have to crash, taking out the lives of everyone onboard before the city considers something like that…maybe.

  2. Rugbyball says:

    I say if you’re that for it then fine and that certain it’s safe, great. how about you back up your claims with action. Remove any indemnity you would get from the City and make yourself 100% liable for any damage or loss of life that can be attributed to this Garbage transfer station. Heck Architects are liable for their designs for their entire life no protection there except for insurance they pay for till they die.
    I think the city, state or Fed should remove all indemnifications of any project. Let the workers and designers be certain it’s good and safe, less they be sued. And for those that say, nothing would ever get done since no one will want to do anything, well like I said before Architects are liable for their designs for their entire life, plenty of buildings and structures go up each year, so things would get done.

  3. rocky says:

    Sully For Safety and for Mayor

  4. rocky says:

    Let Bloomey pay out all these costs for all the people involved to make this project bird free 1 million dollars in salaries and if fail and the birds fly into a plane hundreds injured or fill in the blanks Its on your Shoulders MR Big Shot

  5. ham07 says:

    This mayor is very arrogant and pretty much does now as he pleases. All hail King Mike.

  6. Garth says:

    Putting trash anywhere attracts insects which attracts birds. Birds feed off garbage and insects as well. If there is no danger or risk involved, ltet Bloomey put it up next to Gracie Mansion. Lets see how long that idea flies.Shame on the stupidity of developers and planning boards for constantly allowing things to be built closer and closer to large airports like the three in the N.Y. area. Bad enough constantly having to listen to whining about noise from resients that live next to active runways, but now Bloomey wants to potentialy risk lives with this nonsense ?? I wonder when the last time was he departed on a flight out of LaGuardia. More than likely use Atlantic City or MacArthur, since they are wide open with few delays….Jerks I say, all of them……..

  7. karlson says:

    The mentality is practically criminal. Mayor Mike must think he is a better pilot than Sully. Is Bloomie going to be held responsible for loss of life and property the next time both engines are crippled by bird strikes? If not for Sully, that plane could have caused untold damage and deaths on the ground in addition to killing everyone on board.

    Where is the common sense here?

  8. iggy says:

    of course it’s a terrible idea. they kill geese at the airports now. mayor mikey says there will be a “strict no feeding the wildlife program” the garbage itself will feed the birds. he is showing his total disregard for the public again.

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