Right Place, Right Time

This father of four was at the right place at the right time during the miracle on the Hudson River.

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When we heard yesterday that a commercial plane had gone down in the Hudson River we hoped and prayed the passengers and crew would get out safely. It wasn’t for almost an hour that there was news that 155 crew and passengers, everyone, was alive! Our governor and mayor credited the pilot for his masterful skill in landing the plane and the passengers for keeping calm. "We had a miracle on 34th Street. I believe now we have had a miracle on the Hudson," Gov. David Paterson said.

The pictures (a passenger on one of the commuter ferries that rushed to rescue passengers, Janis Krums, tweeted this image he snapped on his iPhone) and video of the passengers standing on the sinking wing of the plane in the icy Hudson are riveting. A local TV reporter asked one of the survivors about the rescue. Wrapped in blankets to help bring his body temperature up, Doug Sanderson, a father of four, told the reporter that even though he was scheduled to be on a later flight, he’s glad he wasn’t. That’s right, he was glad he was on board Flight 1549. Why? There was a mother on the wing with her baby and she didn’t want to let go of her baby and hand him over to passengers in a life raft. Mr. Sanderson said he kept talking with her and calmed her down, assuring the baby would be safe. “God put me on that plane for a reason—to help that mother,” he said. He says he was at the right place, at the right time.

Celeste is a senior editor at GUIDEPOSTS.

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