Miracle on the Hudson: The Extraordinary Real-Life Story Behind Flight 1549, by the Survivors Info

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The remarkable true story
of Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger’s heroic
crash landing in the Hudson River, as told by the passengers who owe him
their lives.

 
Millions watched the aftermath on
television, while others witnessed the event actually happening from the
windows of nearby skyscrapers. But only 155 people know firsthand what
really happened on U.S. Airways Flight 1549 on January 15, 2009. Now,
for the first time, the survivors detail their astounding, terrifying,
and inspiring experiences on that freezing winter day in New York City.
Written by two esteemed journalists, Miracle on the Hudson is the
entire tale from takeoff to bird strike to touchdown to rescue, seen
through the eyes and felt in the souls of those on board the fateful
flight.
Revealing many new and compelling details, Miracle on
the Hudson
dramatically evokes the explosion and "smell of burning
flesh" as both engines were destroyed by geese, the violent landing on
the river that felt like a "huge car wreck," the gridlock in the aisles
as the plane filled swiftly with freezing water, and the thrill of the
passengers' rescue from the wings and from rafts—all of it
recalled by the "cross section of America" on board.
Jay
McDonald, a thirty-nine-year-old software developer, had survived
brain-tumor surgery just two years earlier and now faced the
unimaginable.
Tracey Wolsko, a nervous flier, suddenly became
other people's rock: "Just pray. It's going to be all right." Jim
Whitaker, a construction executive, reassured a nervous mother of two
young children on board, only later admitting, "I was pathologically
lying the whole time." As the plane started sinking, Lucille Palmer,
eighty-five, told her daughter to save herself: "Just leave
me!"
Featuring much more than what the media
reported—moments of chaos in addition to stoicism and common
sense, and the fortuitous mistakes and quick instincts that saved lives
that otherwise would have been lost—Miracle on the Hudson
is the chronicle of one of the most phenomenal feel-good stories of
recent years, one that could have been a nightmare and instead became a
stirring narrative of heroism and hope for our times.

Average Ratings and Reviews
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4.22

546 Ratings

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Reviews for Miracle on the Hudson: The Extraordinary Real-Life Story Behind Flight 1549, by the Survivors:

5

September 11, 2016

A VERY PROFOUND BOOK
Reading the accounts of the passengers and their experiences and thoughts during this trauma was very profound for me. Of great interest, were their thoughts of time slowing down and what transpired during this time. When I was 25 years old (I am now 75) I was on a highway near Columbia, Missouri, it was dark and raining, I had a blow out on my front left tire, couldn't get control and sailed over a 70 foot cliff. Time slowed down!! I thought, "I'm never going to see my husband and daughter again, I'm not ready to die", and I began to recite the Lord's Prayer. I was knocked unconscious, came to, realized I had clouded vision in my left eye, then heard a sound and interpreted it as being the sound of flames. I quickly crawled out the window of the upside down car which was laying on top a boulder then crawled up the cliff. This slowing down of time lasted a week. However, during this week, time gradually returned to normal. Until I read this book, I had never heard of anyone having experienced this phenomena. I, now, realize this is a most unique experience and feel somewhat relieved that it is not so uncommon. It was, also, very revealing as to how other people handle themselves in a crisis especially when these individuals felt as though they were not going to survive. The experience I had in 1965 helped me survive another experience in 1971 which included myself and my six year old daughter. I awoke around two o'clock in the morning with a knife at my throat and my daughter was a night stand away from me. I think because of my previous experience, I was able to keep a clear head, so to speak. I asked the man if he was going to kill me. I asked this question because I was determined to not make a sound if he stabbed me in hopes my daughter would stay asleep and he would not kill her. He said he would not if I kept quiet, which I did, and she did not wake up until the police officers arrived. I hope you all read this book as it is very well written and, in doing so, it will help you if you find yourself in a life threatening situation. My reading this has helped me to, somewhat, but a few things to rest.
5

October 5, 2016

THe book I hoped somebody had written
After seeing the movie, "Sully, " I wanted to know more: surely there were some who prayed, who later thanked God, although this was entirely omitted in the movie. And what of the survivors since that day? Have their lives changed? Have they sought the purpose for a second chance at life? Thankfully, the authors have done extensive research. Not only are these questions answered, but I learned so much more. The harrowing rescue onto the boats are one hundred and fifty-five separate miracles, many told in this book, many requiring others who valued the lives of strangers. I learned there were many heroes that day. And, as a personal bonus for me, I have recently moved to the Charlotte area and the small hometowns of the survivors are towns where I now visit and shop and recognize. At the time of the event, I was thankful like others, but had not noticed that this was a story about North Carolina as well as New York. This book is excellent. Thanks to the authors for writing it.
5

August 8, 2015

Makes you feel like your one of the passengers
Makes you feel like your one of the passengers. Told from the view point of all those in the aircraft. You will hear "heads down, brace, brace, a lot. From the time of the pilots announcement and knowing the plane was going to end up in the Hudson was 120 seconds. During that time it is interesting to see the humanity in assorted way's from those random passengers who were strangers. From the long announcement to when the plane hit the water seemed like eternity. The fact the plane was intact and the passengers managed to vacate the aircraft to the water and wings is a must read. You won't get much information on the pilot and next to nothing on the co-pilot. That is a separate book written by Capt. Skully.
2

March 24, 2012

Miracle Perhaps !
The pilot brought the plane safely down, but it seemed to me he didn't do very much in calming passengers and helping once the plane was in the Hudson. A number of passengers proceeded to yank flotation gear from the grip of other passengers, but none of these individuals are mentioned by name. I thought the story just dragged on and on and I frankly lost interest particularly with regard to the appalling behavior of some of the passengers as previously stated. Others truly went beyond the call of duty to help fellow passengers and they are the ones who deserve credit.
4

Sep 11, 2016

This book is based on interviews the authors conducted with the passengers of Flight 1549. The manner in which they weave together the accounts of each individual story to form this coherent, highly readable account of the events of 01/15/2009 is a remarkable journalistic feat. I found the book to be informative and in many places quite moving.
3

Dec 01, 2011

Not sure why I decided to read this, since I'm insanely afraid of flying already! It was really interesting though to read about this amazing story from the passengers point of view. I read it really fast, I couldn't stop reading! It was really sad to read about the thoughts and emotions and actions of the passengers when they truly thought they were going to die. Made me think a lot. It was also interesting to read about all of the chaos and drama that occured AFTER they landed. I never thought Not sure why I decided to read this, since I'm insanely afraid of flying already! It was really interesting though to read about this amazing story from the passengers point of view. I read it really fast, I couldn't stop reading! It was really sad to read about the thoughts and emotions and actions of the passengers when they truly thought they were going to die. Made me think a lot. It was also interesting to read about all of the chaos and drama that occured AFTER they landed. I never thought about those moments of when they were trying to all get out and had to stay alive in that freezing water until help arrived. I gave it 3 stars because I did feel like the end sort of dragged. And I was also hoping to hear a LOT more about Captain Sully's actions and point of view. It hardly mentioned the cockpit at all. Definitely a great read, but for me, if I give a book 4 or 5 stars, it means I'd read it again. ...more
3

August 12, 2015

Interesting.
The story was certainly interesting, but I found it somewhat disjointed,. The telling was done through the eyes of many different survivors, so it jumped back and forth between characters and locations on the plane. Overall good story, though!
3

October 23, 2014

A human interest account
If you are looking for excitement, technical information, or an adventure story about US Air 1549, this is not it. It does provide interesting human interest narrative based on interviews with 118 of the passengers. Captain Sullenberger's story is not among them. I found it slow reading and gave up trying to keep all the passengers in some kind of order. Three stars for the effort and research that went into the book.
3

April 5, 2010

It makes good reading
Too heavy on the human side, which is alright, but too light on the technical side i.e. does not describe in a broader or more detailed manner the actual feat of pilot "Suly" Sulenberg without which it would have ended in an awful tragedy.
5

Oct 05, 2016

THe book I hoped somebody had written

After seeing the movie, "Sully, " I wanted to know more: surely there were some who prayed, who later thanked God, although this was entirely omitted in the movie. And what of the survivors since that day? Have their lives changed? Have they sought the purpose for a second chance at life? Thankfully, the authors have done extensive research. Not only are these questions answered, but I learned so much more. The harrowing rescue onto the boats are one hundred THe book I hoped somebody had written

After seeing the movie, "Sully, " I wanted to know more: surely there were some who prayed, who later thanked God, although this was entirely omitted in the movie. And what of the survivors since that day? Have their lives changed? Have they sought the purpose for a second chance at life? Thankfully, the authors have done extensive research. Not only are these questions answered, but I learned so much more. The harrowing rescue onto the boats are one hundred and fifty-five separate miracles, many told in this book, many requiring others who valued the lives of strangers. I learned there were many heroes that day. And, as a personal bonus for me, I have recently moved to the Charlotte area and the small hometowns of the survivors are towns where I now visit and shop and recognize. At the time of the event, I was thankful like others, but had not noticed that this was a story about North Carolina as well as New York. This book is excellent. Thanks to the authors for writing it. ...more
5

November 13, 2016

I highly recommend you read both books
When I read in the news about a commercial plane crashing, I always wonder... what were those people thinking as the plane was going down. Well, this book tells you who the people were, and exactly what they were thinking. Thankfully, due to the skill and professionalism of Capt. Sullenberger, this plane didn't crash, but made a miraculous emergency water landing. And the harrowing stories each passenger has about getting from the plane in the Hudson and safely to shore will truly bring you to tears. I read this book after reading "Sully". I highly recommend you read both books!
3

December 8, 2016

Kinda...
The stories are all mixed. It would be better, for a chapter to belong to a specific passenger, etc. The language is tooooo fancy. It distracs from the many situation you want to address
3

September 1, 2016

OK for people who want a few more details
Well researched.
Reaching to get a full book out of a brief episode.
3

Jan 15, 2014

I’M DYING! AND I DIDN’T MAKE THE BED

Five years ago, on January 15, 2009, Flight 1549 took off for Charlotte, North Carolina and, 3 minutes later, made an emergency landing in the Hudson River, with no serious harm to anyone but the geese who caused the problem. (They were liquefied into something called, in aviation jargon, snarge.)

Miracle on the Hudson, the subsequent book about this incident by William Prochnau and Laura Parker, focuses not on the uber-competence of Pilot “Sully” I’M DYING! AND I DIDN’T MAKE THE BED

Five years ago, on January 15, 2009, Flight 1549 took off for Charlotte, North Carolina and, 3 minutes later, made an emergency landing in the Hudson River, with no serious harm to anyone but the geese who caused the problem. (They were liquefied into something called, in aviation jargon, snarge.)

Miracle on the Hudson, the subsequent book about this incident by William Prochnau and Laura Parker, focuses not on the uber-competence of Pilot “Sully” Sullenberger, but on the reactions of the plane’s passengers after they realized both engines had failed. Some screamed. Some cursed. (A direct quote: “Oh, crap, we‘re crashing!”) A few were furious. Others remained calm.

My favorites were the folks who remained in denial. They flat-out refused to believe a disaster was happening. . “Problem? There isn’t a problem,” they insisted, right up to the moment the plane plunked into the drink.

Experts who have studied how folks behave in crisis situations tell us that when the shit hits the fan, some people are survival-oriented, some totally flip out, and a third group sits frozen in shock and does absolutely nothing. (When the oxygen masks drop, these folks stare at them blankly until they pass out.)

So how do you know which group you’re in?

You don’t. Until your plane loses both engines.

The passengers on Flight 1549 prayed to a smorgasbord of Supreme Beings. There were Jews and Muslims and a variety of Christians on the plane. Also one Buddhist (who later reported that she felt kind of “left out.”) Some folks reached for their cells and tried to phone their loved ones, although one passenger aborted her call when her seatmate said, “Don’t phone your husband now -- you don’t want to bother him.”

Come again? If when you’re plunging toward almost certain death isn’t the right time to trouble your hubby, I don’t know when is. I applaud the woman who phoned her man the instant she realized the plane was in trouble and kept him on the line through the whole ordeal.

“Kudos to Verizon,“ she said later, “They were right there.“

Now there’s an ad -- “We’ve lost both engines! We’re headed toward the water! Can you hear me now?”

A variety of last thoughts went through people’s heads. Many said mental goodbyes to loved ones. Some asked God for forgiveness. Others were pierced by regret that they’d never see their daughter graduate or play catch with their son. One woman actually fretted about the fact that she hadn’t made her bed that morning. (Easy there, Martha.) And the overly-practical among us can surely relate to the woman, who, as the plane went down, hoped her husband would realize that, because she was traveling on business, he could collect double on her insurance.

We’ve all wondered what it would be like to be in a crashing airplane. We‘re seen the movie version (too) many times. But Flight 1549 provided a rare opportunity to learn what it’s actually like.
I’m glad they all made it out alive.

(This review first appeared on www.broadstreetreview.com)
...more
5

Nov 21, 2016

I read the book Miracle On The Hudson written by William Prochnau. The author's purpose in writing this book was to inform readers about the real life story of U.S Airways flight 1549 that crash landed on the Hudson River in New York. This event took place on January 15th, 2009. The author of this book was a survivor of the crash who lived to tell his story to others.


The theme of this book was that not all bad situations have a bad outcome. After U.S Airways flight 1549 took off from LaGuardia I read the book Miracle On The Hudson written by William Prochnau. The author's purpose in writing this book was to inform readers about the real life story of U.S Airways flight 1549 that crash landed on the Hudson River in New York. This event took place on January 15th, 2009. The author of this book was a survivor of the crash who lived to tell his story to others.


The theme of this book was that not all bad situations have a bad outcome. After U.S Airways flight 1549 took off from LaGuardia International Airport in New York City, it headed to Charlotte Douglas International Airport in Charlotte, North Carolina. No one onboard thought it would be anything but an ordinary flight. Well this was all about to change when they encountered dual engine loss at a lower altitude than any flight ever before. They had been hit by a flock of Canadian Geese. Now with both engines out, they had to try to return to LaGuardia. They were too low to manage that kind of emergency landing. So, they had all of the runways at Teterboro Airport in New Jersey cleared, That would not work either. Captain Chesley Sullenberger came on the intercom and said “This is the Captain speaking, brace for impact” They were going to end up in the Hudson River on a cold day in New York City.


This book was a description. The author did a very good job describing the details of this horrific accident. All of the 155 passengers on board survived the crash, only because Captain “Sully” Sullenberger was such a good pilot and had over 40 years of experience. If it had been any other pilot in the cockpit on that early and old January morning some of the passengers would have died.


I absolutely Loved this book!! I would rate is five out of five stars. I think the author did an amazing job writing this book, and I also think it is amazing that one of the survivors lived to write this book. I have never read another book like this because almost every other one is written by someone that was not on U.S Airways flight 1549. I would not change anything about this book because it is amazingly written and nothing could be better ...more
4

Aug 12, 2014

Unlike many of the other big events to happen in my lifetime, the crash of flight 1549 and rescue of the passengers occurred in just a few hours' time. Therefore, to write an entire book based on a flight that lasted less than half an hour takes talent, and it was essential to have the input of those who survived the flight in order to generate enough content. The multiple perspectives the author provided allowed readers to get to know the truth about what was going on, rather than just what Unlike many of the other big events to happen in my lifetime, the crash of flight 1549 and rescue of the passengers occurred in just a few hours' time. Therefore, to write an entire book based on a flight that lasted less than half an hour takes talent, and it was essential to have the input of those who survived the flight in order to generate enough content. The multiple perspectives the author provided allowed readers to get to know the truth about what was going on, rather than just what mainstream media covered in the immediate aftermath. While much of the focus of the news channels, etc. was deservedly directed to pilot Chesley Sullenberger and his expertise in flying planes to guide the disabled jet to a safe landing, Sullenberger got only a couple passing mentions here.
Instead, the book covers what was going through the passengers' minds before, during, and after the crash. Some were already survivors, having lived through things such as another plane crash or a brain tumor. Others were nervous flyers saying many prayers and taking medications long before takeoff. Many were business commuters though, just taking what they expected to be a routine jaunt from New York to Charlotte. Passengers ranged in age from a baby being held on his mom's lap to an elderly lady of 80+ years flying with her daughter, and came from multiple countries and religious and ethnic backgrounds. Somehow, all of them worked together to ensure all of their survival despite the presence of jet fuel all around and frigid temperatures both in the Hudson River and the January air.
Overall, I enjoyed the book quite a bit, as it's been a couple years since the incident and I liked getting the refresher on the events that occurred, ...more
3

May 12, 2018

Compelling due to its content, but this account is a formulaic "survivors tell their stories" publication, partly, perhaps, because it was published so soon after the January 2009 accident. Competently written, but with no insight or poignancy. Apparently accurate and well researched, but it reads like the authors arranged their interview excerpts and factual notes chronologically and then just typed them up one by one. The bird strike -- what happened -- then survivor response #1, #2, #3, etc. Compelling due to its content, but this account is a formulaic "survivors tell their stories" publication, partly, perhaps, because it was published so soon after the January 2009 accident. Competently written, but with no insight or poignancy. Apparently accurate and well researched, but it reads like the authors arranged their interview excerpts and factual notes chronologically and then just typed them up one by one. The bird strike -- what happened -- then survivor response #1, #2, #3, etc. Plane evacuation -- basic facts -- then survivor response #1, #2, #3, etc. When helpful, there are basic sidebars into the background of bird strikes, water ditchings, etc., but similar aspects that needed such background are missing. Sully and co-pilot Skiles -- they make minimal appearances in this account. True, their perspectives received much coverage elsewhere, but, uh, they too are "survivors of Flight 1549," they too had to prepare for impact, they too had to evacuate the plan and get on rescue vessels. Their near total omission from this account is glaring. So what do I consider a good account of a plane crash? Flight 232: A Story of Disaster and Survival by Laurence Gonzales, about UA Flight 232 that crashed in Iowa in 1989. That's an engrossing insightful account that gives you a closer sense of the crew and survivors and fascinating knowledge about aircraft, air crashes, and crash investigations.
...more
3

May 06, 2018

Even as the title of the book said that this was the story of the survivors of those on flight 1549 I did not realize that that's basically all it is. Those survivors as well as those who rescued them.

Who they were, why they were taking that flight, what they thought from before takeoff through the crash to rescue and the days, weeks and months that followed. How their lives changed as well as their viewpoints on flying and what was truthfully most important to them. How they felt after the Even as the title of the book said that this was the story of the survivors of those on flight 1549 I did not realize that that's basically all it is. Those survivors as well as those who rescued them.

Who they were, why they were taking that flight, what they thought from before takeoff through the crash to rescue and the days, weeks and months that followed. How their lives changed as well as their viewpoints on flying and what was truthfully most important to them. How they felt after the Colgan crash in Buffalo just four weeks later.

It didn't go into the cockpit. It only touched on what actually happened and why.

The reason I gave it 3 stars was due to as each moment went by, several people had comments to be relaying and very quickly it got confusing who was who and why they were there and.... I constantly wished that the listing in back of the book also included where they worked or why they were on the plane - the golfers for example or the two pilots being transported to another airport.
...more
5

Dec 12, 2009

William Prochnau & Laura Parker have definitely did their homework.....I really enjoyed reading this book and recommend it to every one.....The detail of the 3 minutes that the plan was in the air before it made a water landing was riveting and I was on the edge of my seat.....I can't imagine experiencing anything close to this......

A really good read...
4

Feb 15, 2019

First, I watched the movie Sully. Then I read the book by Sully. Then I came across this title, which features stories from the passengers who were on the flight. If you're like me and you're kind of fascinated by this event, this is a good book to read.

Book Description:
Millions watched the aftermath on television, while others witnessed the event actually happening from the windows of nearby skyscrapers. But only 155 people know firsthand what really happened on U.S. Airways Flight 1549 on First, I watched the movie Sully. Then I read the book by Sully. Then I came across this title, which features stories from the passengers who were on the flight. If you're like me and you're kind of fascinated by this event, this is a good book to read.

Book Description:
Millions watched the aftermath on television, while others witnessed the event actually happening from the windows of nearby skyscrapers. But only 155 people know firsthand what really happened on U.S. Airways Flight 1549 on January 15, 2009. Now, for the first time, the survivors detail their astounding, terrifying, and inspiring experiences on that freezing winter day in New York City. Written by two esteemed journalists, Miracle on the Hudson is the entire tale from takeoff to bird strike to touchdown to rescue, seen through the eyes and felt in the souls of those on board the fateful flight.

Revealing many new and compelling details, Miracle on the Hudson dramatically evokes the explosion and "smell of burning flesh" as both engines were destroyed by geese, the violent landing on the river that felt like a "huge car wreck," the gridlock in the aisles as the plane filled swiftly with freezing water, and the thrill of the passengers' rescue from the wings and from rafts—all of it recalled by the "cross section of America" on board.

Jay McDonald, a thirty-nine-year-old software developer, had survived brain-tumor surgery just two years earlier and now faced the unimaginable.

Tracey Wolsko, a nervous flier, suddenly became other people's rock: "Just pray. It's going to be all right." Jim Whitaker, a construction executive, reassured a nervous mother of two young children on board, only later admitting, "I was pathologically lying the whole time." As the plane started sinking, Lucille Palmer, eighty-five, told her daughter to save herself: "Just leave me!"

Featuring much more than what the media reported—moments of chaos in addition to stoicism and common sense, and the fortuitous mistakes and quick instincts that saved lives that otherwise would have been lost—Miracle on the Hudson is the chronicle of one of the most phenomenal feel-good stories of recent years, one that could have been a nightmare and instead became a stirring narrative of heroism and hope for our times. ...more
4

Sep 03, 2019

I saw this book at the library and decided to check it out. Although it's been over 10 years since this event, I have wondered about what must have been going through the passengers' minds through this ordeal. The book is very thoroughly researched; it seems like the authors interviewed all passengers who were willing to participate. I never realized that there was a lot of drama in the minutes after the landing, and the part about the lemming-effect as the first person to leave the aircraft I saw this book at the library and decided to check it out. Although it's been over 10 years since this event, I have wondered about what must have been going through the passengers' minds through this ordeal. The book is very thoroughly researched; it seems like the authors interviewed all passengers who were willing to participate. I never realized that there was a lot of drama in the minutes after the landing, and the part about the lemming-effect as the first person to leave the aircraft jumped in the river was interesting. I was kind of disappointed in Captain Sullenberger's book where he only credits his training for surviving, so it was interesting to hear what the other survivors had to say. ...more
4

Sep 21, 2018

I saw the movie “Sully” which showed us the steps Capt. Sullenberger took to make the instantaneous and right decision on landing that plane. This book delves into the passengers and what they experienced, in their own words. It was an emotional read, often bringing me to tears. It details the incredible response of rescuers and the fortitude of the prevailing human spirit during a crisis.
Now I’m on to “Highest Duty” written by Capt. Sullenberger himself.
4

May 09, 2019

I usually read books about aviation from the industry’s or outsider’s point of view, so this is a refreshing and emotional account from the passengers that I thoroughly enjoyed - though maybe enjoyed is not the right word for how traumatic the accident was, despite there being no deaths. I definitely recommend this to anyone with any interest at all in what happened that day on the Hudson, from inside out. I pretty much finished the entire book in one sitting.
5

May 09, 2017

This book was so detailed that it put you in the plane with them. It put you out on the wing and in the water with them. The things going through each passenger's mind as things were unfolding. You never know how you are going to react in a traumatic situation, and how it will change your life in a matter of minutes. Excellent Book!
4

Jul 22, 2018

As a person who "tolerates" flying, I wasn't sure about reading this book. However, I found it informative and honest which helped me think through what I might have felt if I had been in a similar situation. If nothing else, it reminded me just how important it is to listen to the safety instructions on EACH flight you take "just in case".

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