I’m in New Jersey tonight, just a few miles from the scene where a miraculous rescue occurred a couple hours ago. Locals are buzzing about the “Miracle on the Hudson.” A US Airways Airbus jetliner with 150 passengers was forced to make an emergency landing after leaving LaGuardia – allegedly due to damage from striking a group of birds on takeoff. The damaged plane didn’t have time to reach a small nearby airport. Instead, the courageous pilot, Chesley Sullenberger, had to take the plane down for a crash landing on the cold Hudson River. Avoiding bridges, buildings, cables, and boats, he managed a safe landing under difficult circumstances. It was a hard landing, but a remarkably safe one.
Then the rescue operation kicked in. Even after landing intact, the news tonight could have been grim, with dozens drowned in the cold waters of the Hudson (air temperatures are well below freezing here). But ferries and other boats were nearby that quickly began rescuing the passengers. There were some close calls, but all were rescued. Everybody. News reporters all around are feeling compelled to call this a miracle – there’s no better word.
One observer was amazed at how well the rescue workers and boaters coordinated the rescue. Such professionalism!
I am so proud to live in a country with people showing such courage, willingness to help, and competence in doing good. The pilot, Chesley Sullenberger, a real hero, was the last one off the sinking plane and walked the aisles twice to make sure everyone was off. God bless him!
We don’t know why some live and some die, why some troubled journeys result end in bitter tragedy and others in miraculous rescue. But let us be grateful for those miracles that do occur, and for the brave men and women who worked together – the pilot and flight staff included – to help give many people another day of life. Those rescued have reason to view life in an entirely new way as they look up to heaven and wonder why they were given this second chance.