State News

Charlotte honors crew of U.S. Airways Flight 1549

Posted February 25, 2009 4:02 a.m. EST
Updated March 9, 2009 5:13 p.m. EDT

— Officials in Charlotte honored the crew of US Airways Flight 1549, which landed safely in the Hudson River.

Mayor Pat McCrory, who led the ceremony in the meeting chamber of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Government Center, declared Wednesday as Heroes Day in honor of the crew.

“The outpouring of support that received from around the world is amazing but none more than here in Charlotte. It is wonderful to see all of your faces again,” US Airways pilot Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger said during the ceremony.

Sullenberger glided the Airbus A320, bound for Charlotte, down into the Hudson River on Jan. 15. The plane landed in one piece and all 155 people aboard survived the water landing.

Sullenberger said he plans to return to work for the airline in a couple months.

"As time has passed, I can understand why people feel the way they do and how they've been looking for good news and a reason to be hopeful again,” Sullenberger said.

Flight attendants did not comment on when or if they plan to return to work.

The crew received a proclamation, an official city pin and commemorative bricks from NASCAR executives. Permanent bricks will be placed outside of the NASCAR Hall of Fame currently under construction.

About 45 Charlotte-area passengers of Flight 1549 attended the public event.

“It has been nice to hear some of the stories, (and) reconnect with some of the other passengers that I was sitting next to,” passenger Jay McDonald said.

"Every day is just one sweet breath that I could have not lived if he had not done what he did,” passenger Mark Hood said.

Passenger Nick Gamache, of Raleigh, said he will probably celebrate the anniversary of the Hudson landing for the rest of his life.

The jetliner lost power in both engines when it hit Canada geese after takeoff from New York's LaGuardia Airport.