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Miracle on the Hudson: The Survivors of Flight 1549 Tell Their Extraordinary Stories of Courage, Faith, and Determinationby Laura Parker
Synopses & Reviews
In this heart-stopping, page-turning tale of fear, heroism, and redemption, the passengers of the Hudson River crash landing tell their remarkable stories.
Millions watched the aftermath on television, while others witnessed the event actually happening from the windows of nearby skyscrapers. But only 155 people know firsthand what really happened on U.S. Airways Flight 1549 on January 15, 2009. Now, for the first time, the survivors detail their astounding, terrifying, and inspiring experiences on that freezing winter day in New York City. Written by two esteemed journalists, Miracle on the Hudson is the entire tale from takeoff to bird strike to touchdown to rescue, seen through the eyes and felt in the souls of those on board the fateful flight.
Revealing many new and compelling details, Miracle on the Hudson dramatically evokes the explosion and "smell of burning flesh" as both engines were destroyed by geese, the violent landing on the river that felt like a "huge car wreck," the gridlock in the aisles as the plane filled swiftly with freezing water, and the thrill of the passengers' rescue from the wings and from rafts—all of it recalled by the "cross section of America" on board.
Jay McDonald, a thirty-nine-year-old software developer, had survived brain-tumor surgery just two years earlier and now faced the unimaginable.
Tracey Wolsko, a nervous flier, suddenly became other people's rock: "Just pray. It's going to be all right." Jim Whitaker, a construction executive, reassured a nervous mother of two young children on board, only later admitting, "I was pathologically lying the whole time." As the plane started sinking, Lucille Palmer, eighty-five, told her daughter to save herself: "Just leave me!"
Featuring much more than what the media reported—moments of chaos in addition to stoicism and common sense, and the fortuitous mistakes and quick instincts that saved lives that otherwise would have been lost—Miracle on the Hudson is the chronicle of one of the most phenomenal feel-good stories of recent years, one that could have been a nightmare and instead became a stirring narrative of heroism and hope for our times.
There were 155 passengers on board Flight 1549, and each presumbably thought this was the end of their lives. How did it feel to be aboard that flight as a passenger, and what has the accident done to the lives of those on board? We go right inside the fuselage as the realization dawns that something is terribly wrong. We hear the silence of no engines. We watch as the George Washington Bridge passes just 900 feet below the plane. We hear the words, 'brace for impact.' Then we, too, are in the Hudson, freezing water pouring in to the plane, the emergency doors opening, and the frigid air welcoming these survivors of a miracle back to life.
We hear from mothers, daughters, sons, fathers. They include Tess Sosa, who was flying that day with her husband and two children, the only family aboard the plane, and Jay McDonald, who had recently recovered from a brain tumor once thought to have been terminal. Casey Jones, who now helps to run an organization of the survivors, actually called his daughter from the wing of the aircraft right after the ditching. She said, 'A plane crash? Daddy?' Miracle on the Hudson is an inspirational tale of survivaland gratitude.
About the Author
William Prochnau and Laura Parker write collaborative articles for Vanity Fair, where Prochnau is a contributing editor. They interviewed 120 passengers of Flight 1549, as well as many first responders and rescuers. Prochnau, a former national correspondent for The Washington Post, has written three acclaimed books, including Once Upon A Distant War . Parker covered aviation for The Washington Post and spent 10 years as a national correspondent at USA Today. They live in Washington, D.C.
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