Passengers on the US Airways flight that crash-landed into the Hudson River Thursday afternoon praised the actions and courage of the pilot, a safety consultant with 40 years of experience in the aviation industry.
Sources tell CNN that Chesley B. "Sully" Sullenberger was piloting US Airways flight 1549 from New York's LaGuardia airport to Charlotte, North Carolina, when at least one of the plane's engines failed.
Passenger Jeff Kolodjay offered "kudos" to Sullenberger for a landing that minimized damage to the aircraft and its 155 passengers and crew.
"All of a sudden the captain came on and he told us to brace ourselves and probably brace ourselves pretty hard. But he did an amazing job -- kudos to him on that landing," said Kolodjay, who was sitting in seat 22A.
Sullenberger's wife told CNN that she was stunned to hear the news from her husband after it was all over.
"I hadn't been watching the news. I've heard Sully say to people, 'It's rare for an airline pilot to have an incident in their career,' " said Lori Sullenberger of Danville, California.
"When he called me he said, 'There's been an accident.' At first I thought it was something minor, but then he told me the circumstances and my body started shaking and I rushed to get our daughters out of school."
US Airways said all 155 passengers and crew are alive and safely off the plane.
I was at work when a co-worker yelled out that a plane had just "crashed" in the Hudson River, some 20 minutes away from my job. Instantly the office became abuzz as we listened to the radio waiting for news reports with the hope that there wouldn't be too many casualties. As each minute passed word began to come in that passengers were being evacuated. Good. But then the news got so much better some 15 minutes later when we heard that there didn't look to be any fatalities or even serious injuries. Wow! Apparently, the plane hit a flock of geese, taking out both engines and Sullenberger, realizing that he was in dire straits and unable to fly back to the airport, warned his passengers to "brace for impact" before he deftly "ditched" the plane in the Hudson long enough for all the passengers to get out safely. Amazing! Great job too by the first responders who arrived within minutes to escort all the passengers to land.