It’s the 12th anniversary of the Miracle on the Hudson

Jan 15, 2021

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It was a bitterly cold day on the Hudson River on this day 12 years ago. That’s the day a true miracle of piloting skill and luck came together as US Airways flight 1549 had a bird strike and made an emergency landing on the Hudson River with no loss of life.

Capt. Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger was piloting the Airbus A320 when he hit a flock of geese just after takeoff for the flight to Charlotte. The plane lost both engines and Sullenberger and his co-pilot Jeff Skiles were able to essentially glide the plane onto the river’s surface and keep it floating until the passengers and crew could be rescued.

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It’s since been rightly described as the “Miracle on the Hudson.”

Among the 155 souls on board? Ric Elias: co-founder and CEO of Red Ventures, TPG’s parent company.

Here’s a look back at some of our most interesting stories in the aftermath of the flight.

In This Post

Rescue boats float next to a US Airways plane floating in the water after crashing into the Hudson River in the afternoon on January 15, 2009, in New York City. The Airbus 320 flight 1549 crashed shortly after take-off from LaGuardia Airport heading to Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Jerritt Clark/Getty Images)

The reunion of a lifetime

One of our favorite meetups out of all the TPG Awards was when Red Ventures founder Ric Elias got to meet Sullenberger and shake his hand as we approached the 10th anniversary of the crash.

Elias and Capt. Sully had not seen each other since the close call, but they were reunited at the inaugural TPG Awards in 2018. The awards were held on the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum that is berthed on the very same Hudson River. Sullenberger was being honored with The Points Guy Hero Award.

The TPG Awards in December 2018. (Photo by Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images for The Points Guy)

“I waited for this moment for 10 years,” Elias said when the two ran into each other on the award show red carpet. “I always wondered what would I say? ‘Thank you’ seems completely inadequate, and ‘I love you’ seems inappropriate. When someone gives you a second chance at life… maybe English will come up with a new word for it.”

Here’s the link to our story.

Related: Red Ventures co-founder Ric Elias tells the story of surviving in the “Miracle on the Hudson.” 


Capt. Chesley Sullenberger, stands in front of the US Airways flight 1549 fuselage at the Carolinas Aviation Museum on June 11, 2011. Sullenberger and other crew members met with passengers to recall their memorable water landing in the Hudson River and to celebrate the plane’s arrival at the museum. (Todd Sumlin/Charlotte Observer/MCT via Getty Images)

What good training can do

Sully also made the list from a story back in 2019 recapping how pilots prepare for the worst possible outcomes, including dual engine failure.

Related:  What happens when a pilot loses an engine?

Charlie Page quoted the captain: “I remember vividly my first three thoughts. ‘This can’t be happening!’ Having read about accident flights before, I know a very common, a very typical thought rooted in disbelief. Followed immediately by ‘This doesn’t happen to me!’ And the third thought was more of a realization that unlike all the other flights, this one probably would not end on a runway with the aircraft undamaged.”

You can read more about that here.


Another of our favorite stories about the anniversary?

Haley Mellen wrote about a hashtag that sprang up around the 10-year anniversary of the crash, “The Carolinas Air Museum tweeted that the hashtag is a celebration of the “national feeling of hope” that arose after the event. Users quickly took to Twitter to share their own personal experiences, as well as memories of the day.  Check out her coverage of #MiracleMoments here.

Featured image by Daniel Barry/Getty Images

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