'Miracle' Pilot Gets Hero's Welcome
LIANE HANSEN, host:
Captain Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger, the pilot who safely landed a US Airways flight on the Hudson River, received a hero's welcome yesterday in his hometown.
(Soundbite of crowd cheering)
HANSEN: Some 3,000 people in Danville, California, a suburb of San Francisco, braved gray skies to come out and hear the pilot speak publicly for the first time since the miraculous crash landing.
Captain CHESLEY SULLY SULLENBERGER (Pilot, US Airways): Circumstance determined that it was this experienced crew that was scheduled to fly that particular flight on that particular day. But I know I can speak for the entire crew when I tell you, we were simply doing the jobs we were trained to do.
HANSEN: It certainly was a job well done. Not long after Flight 1549 left LaGuardia Airport, Captain Sullenberger called into air traffic control with bad news. The jet had hit a flock of birds and lost power in both engines - adire prognosis for any experienced pilot. But somehow, Sullenberger managed to bring the plane down into the Hudson River, saving all 155 passengers onboard. Since then, he's been hailed as a hero. All the news networks fought for the first interview. Then-President George Bush called to personally congratulate him. President Barack Obama made sure he had tickets to the inauguration. Facebook fan pages sprouted up. The world celebrated his name.
Ms. LORIE SULLENBERGER: Mostly for me, he's the man that makes my cup of tea every morning.
HANSEN: That's Lorie Sullenberger, his wife. She stood beside her husband on the stage yesterday and called him the most honorable man she knows. Friends say Sullenberger's not the type to love the spotlight. But maybe the Danville mayor said it best. There are 155 reasons to celebrate the pilot.
NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio.