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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Ten years after the “Miracle on the Hudson,” survivor Jeff Kolodjay returned to the New York City pier where he was brought after being rescued for the first time.
“A lot of memories,” he told CBS News’ Kenneth Craig.
Kolodjay was a passenger on US Airways Flight 1549 when Capt. Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger made an emergency landing in the Hudson River.
“I remember just looking back, thinking ‘how did that happen?’” he said. “I still think, holy cow.”
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He was headed to North Carolina for a golf trip with friends and family when the jet hit a flock of geese shortly after taking off from LaGuardia Airport and lost power in both engines.
When Capt. Sullenberger glided to an emergency landing in the river, Kolodjay was in the back of the plane.
“I still remember just standing up, and the plane had already filled with water. The water was really cold, but I remember thinking, ‘Oh my gosh, this water feels so good, I’m alive,’” he said.
Sullenberger was called a hero for saving all 150 passengers and five crew members.
Asked whether the near-death experience changed his life, Kolodjay replied, “I like to think it did. I mean, what I take from it is the fact that it allowed me to live my life.”
“I got to raise my boy, have another boy and spend a lot of time with my wife,” he added.
He said he still thinks about it every day.
“It’ll be a memory that’s etched in my head forever,” he said.
A memory that’s also etched in the history books as the “Miracle on the Hudson.”