On my way for a doctor’s visit this Thursday afternoon, January 15, 2008, I wondered why my usual route in Manhattan was closed to traffic. Noisy police horns and ambulances blared for some emergency that I couldn’t understand. Yet, when I entered the phlebotomy room in NYU Clinical Cancer Center at 34th Street, my pals in that office were talking about a plane which plunged in the frigid Hudson River, just a few blocks from were we stood. Our surprise and concern could just be felt by the momentary silence.
I could see alarm on the faces of the phlebotomists and a few patients inside the room. Blood drawing temporarily stopped. There were those who instinctively opened their cell phones to call friends and relatives to ask what was going on. After 911, most of us felt trauma each time news of this nature crossed our lives. We thought of the passengers’ condition and we hoped that the incident wasn’t terror-related.
Only a little later that we learned of the 150 passengers and 5 crew of US Airways Airbus A320— all survived, but about 78 passengers suffered body injuries of varying severity. Some were rushed to nearby hospitals to be treated for hypothermia. We were relieved to know the rescuers were on top of the situation. The passengers were reportedly calm and didn’t show panic as they abandoned the sunken plane.
According to the information, the plane en route to Charlottesville, NC went down upon bumping on a flock of Canadian geese soon after take-off which caused both engines to stop a few minutes upon leaving La Guardia airport. The astonishing “miraculous” survival was mainly attributed to divine providence, the help of rescuers, the quick-thinking and skill of pilot Chelsey B. Sullenberger III and his crew who steered the plane into the ice-cold river. Many are overjoyed that no one died in this scary brush with eternity. (Photo Credits: Freeman; NYC Travis; Freeman) =0=