By now everyone has heard of seen the footage from Thursday's USAirways flight 1549 that crashed into the Hudson River in New York shortly after takeoff.
The flight that left from LaGuardia Airport was in root to Charlotte, North Carolina. However, just minutes after the 3:26 p.m. takeoff, pilot Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger reported a double bird strike and immediately looked for a safe place to crash land.
His first option was to return to LaGuardia, couldn't make it. His second option was Teeterboro Airport in New Jersey, couldn't make it. Sully told the passengers, including NASCAR senior manager of licensed attractions Amber Wells, to brace for impact.
Impact on the frigid waters of the Hudson River.
Captain Sully was going to attempt a ditch effort, something that has never been successfully done before.
He did it and is now being called a hero and was given the key to New York City by Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
All 155 passengers and crew survived the plane crash. Plus he was able to keep majority of the plane intact, which helped keep it afloat for a longer period of time.
"I truly believe that God saved my life," Amber says. "I travel...quite a bit and I always count to 120 during takeoffs. I know when we're in the air for two minutes, everything will be fine."
Amber's seat was in row 20 on the right side of the plane and she could see the engine explode. "I was at 90 seconds and I saw the engine explode and smoke start pouring out. Right then, I thought, "You've got to be kidding me.""
After Sully successful landed the plane in the water, Amber remembers the frantic next few minutes. "When I opened my eyes, I looked around and said, "I’m alive." Then I saw my coat and computer bag floating and realized, "Oh my gosh, I’m in water! We’re going to sink!"” she said.
That's because the lower part of the rear of the plane was submerged in water. However, after being able to safely evacuate the plane, Wells and others were picked up by New York fairy boats and emergencies crews.
“Don’t get me wrong. There was a sense of fear; I was crazy scared. But I just had a [sense of] peace. That’s what I remember...I’ve never felt that way and I can’t find the right words to describe it.”
Wells, as would many others aboard the flight, would make it to their final destinations. And when she did she wanted to make sure of one thing. “I asked the pilot,” she said, “to tell me when we were above bird level.”
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