Miracle on the Hudson

Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images

Ferry Captain Reflects On Rescuing Passengers Of Flight 1549

January 15, 2019 - 7:00 am

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — For many New Yorkers, it doesn’t feel like it’s been years since the “Miracle on the Hudson.”

Though, On Jan 15, it marks 10 years since Flight 1549 crash landed in the Hudson River.

New York Waterway Ferry Captain Manuel Liba says he can remember the incident like it was yesterday, when he saw the plane hit the water from where he was docked on the New Jersey side of the river.

“As we prepared the boat for the afternoon shift, you couldn’t miss it, you know. Suddenly, we see behind the boat that big airplane coming down,” Liba said.

He said it is still “so overwhelming.”

RELATED: Survivor Reflects On Flight 1549, 10 Years Later

Liba and his crew quickly steered the ferry to the airplane’s left wing, where dozens of passengers were waiting to be rescued from the frigid waters. They pulled 14 people onto their boat.

“They’re shivering, they were freezing,” Liba said of the survivors. “The most unforgettable scene.”

The incident may have been dubbed the “Miracle on the Hudson” now, but Liba says it’s much more than that.

“There are many little miracles, I think, that made it happen,” he said.

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He notes that the waterway is usually full of boats, but the plane seemed the land at just the right moment in the middle of a lull.

“If some of those boats had been in the way of the boat, you know, it would have been a total disaster,” Liba said.

He also wonders what would happen if there were fuel barges there and what if Chelsey “Sully” Sullenberger wasn’t flying the plane.

Liba notes that he still thinks about that day when he sees planes flying over the Hudson.