NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – When US Airways Flight 1549 suffered a bird strike and lost power to its engines moments after leaving LaGuardia Airport in 2009, CBS2 reporter Marcia Kramer was the first reporter on the scene.
“It all happened quite by accident,” she said this week, the 10th anniversary of the “Miracle on the Hudson” on Jan. 15.
Kramer had been in Brooklyn covering Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s state of the city speech and was returning to the station when she spotted emergency vehicles flocking to the west side waterfront. Under the command of pilot Capt. Chesley B. “Sully” Sullenberger, the plane had just made a splash landing into the Hudson River.
“I said to my cameraman, I don’t know what this is, but we should go,” said Kramer. “We got there just as they were bringing the first people into the ferry landing that had been rescued. Some were being brought in on stretchers, some were wet and they were throwing blankets over them,” she said. “I got some of the first interviews with people who came right off the plane.”
Survivors told stories that could have easily turned out far differently.
“One man I spoke to said, ‘We heard a boom,’ and then they said we were going to go to Newark Airport, and then he said the pilot said, ‘We’re going down,’” said Kramer. “And they went down into the water.”
As Flight 1549 drifted down the river, a total of 155 passengers and crew were rescued by private ferry operators, Coast Guard ships, and an FDNY rescue boat.
“It was amazing,” said Kramer. “We saw people being brought in on all manner of craft.”
Once ashore, the survivors praised Sullenberger and the flight’s crew.
“It was a bitterly cold day, and (people) were in danger of getting hypothermia, but everybody had such positive things to say about how it was handled,” said Kramer. “The captain was calm… it was truly a miracle on the Hudson.”