Now, the new film “Sully,” directed by Clint Eastwood and starring Tom Hanks, tells a different part of story: the aftermath of Sully’s instant celebrity and the investigation into the near-misstragedy of Jan. 15, 2009.
While the nation celebrated the “Miracle on the Hudson,” the National Transportation Safety Board began to question the decision-making of Sully and his first officer, Jeff Skiles. Could the plane have returned to LaGuardia, the New York City airport it departed from, or made it to Jersey’s nearby Teterboro? Was a water-landing the best choice?
Two-hundred and eight seconds. That’s all Sully and his crew had after a bird strike caused his Airbus A320’s engines to fail and his rapidly descending plane touched down on the frigidwaters of the Hudson.
“Taking into account reaction time, it was not possible to make it back to a runway,” Sully told Rose. “The only place in the entire area that would support the landing of a large airlinersuccessfully was the Hudson River.”
Sully’s quick decision ultimately saved the lives of the 155 people onboard the aircraft. And, in May 2010, the NTSB investigation concluded that it “provided the highest probability that the accident would be survivable.”