Headlines

'He Saved My Mommy's Life': 35 Survivors Reunite, Thank Sully for Risky Water Landing


As the new Tom Hanks film, Sully, arrives in theaters Friday, the children of the "Miracle on the Hudson," are thanking the real-life captain who saved their loved ones’ life.

The children may have grown up without a mom or dad if not for the heroism of Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger in January 2009 when he landed his U.S. Airways plane with 155 people aboard in the Hudson River.

Read: 'Miracle on the Hudson' Survivors Reunite to Relive Their Incredible Stories of Survival

One child told Inside Edition: “He saved my mommy's life.”

“He saved our dad's life,” said the children of another passenger.

The flight was traveling from New York's LaGuardia Airport to Charlotte Douglas International Airport when it flew into a gaggle of geese, causing both engines to fail.

The survivors of U.S. Airways flight 1549 reunited in front of the plane that was taken down in the Hudson River.

"It's amazing that all of us survived that day," one passenger told Inside Edition.

Passenger Ben Bostic told Inside Edition: “We wouldn't be here today if not for Captain Sullenberger.”

Many haven't seen each other for years. Inside Carolinas Aviation Museum in Charlotte, they came face to face with the jetliner they were flying in that extraordinary day, where it is on display.

"That's part of the miracle," one passenger said. "It only sustained minor damage. We were all able to get out and ultimately no loss of life."

Laurie Lightner was in seat 20C. She recalled as the captain called, "May Day" that, "everyone started looking around. There was complete silence in the whole plane.”

Mark Hood and Denise Lockie were sitting next to each other in first class.

"That's when I leaned over and grabbed Denise's hand," Hood said, "and I knew we were going to die."
Captain Sully announced he would be making an emergency landing in the Hudson River. Sullenberger glided the crippled jetliner down.

For Michele Winegar, hearing Sully say "brace for impact" was the most emotional part of the ordeal. When the plane landed in the river, she felt freezing water rising around her.

"We just survived a plane crash and now we're going to drown," she thought.

Passenger Doug Schrift added: “We were in the back of the plane. We were drowning. There was chaos and panic going on the back of the plane. The flight attendant said, 'you have to keep the door open.'"

Schrift looked back and spotted the captain.

Read: See Tom Hanks as Captain 'Sully' Sullenberger in New Movie Trailer

"I see Sullenberger standing back. Very calm. Has his hat on. You can see him looking to see everyone gets off ok," he recalled.

Eileen Shlefflar added: “Thank goodness for all the wonderful men we had in the group helped lift us up onto the boats.

The women on board the doomed flight said the men were very chivalrous and let the women go first to safety.

Watch: Federal Investigator: The 'Sully' Movie Portrays Me Unfairly

Related Coverage