It was a cold day back on January 15, 2009 when U.S. Airways Flight 1549 begins losing altitude minutes after taking off from LaGuardia Airport.
Flying 3,000 feet above the city but dropping quickly, Captain Sully Sullenberger tries to find somewhere to land. The Hudson River is coming up fast on him.
At the Port Imperial Ferry Terminal, New York Waterway Ferry Captain Manny Liba says the crews looked up and saw a potential disaster.
He says it wasn't a jumbo jet, but when the plane is in front of you like this, it looks like a giant spaceship. It's so huge," Liba recalls.
The plane glides into the river and, not sure if or when it will sink, the ferry workers steam toward it.
Captain Vincent Lombardi and his two crew members would arrive first.
Passengers are standing on the wing, with water up to their knees freezing, shivering and desperate.
Lombardi and his crew rescue 56 people.
The captain and his wife still stay in touch with one of them, flight attendant Doreen Walsh.
She was on a raft on the starboard bow of the plane. We had pulled everybody out of that raft. She was injured so it took a little extra help to get her out. I remember once we got her onto the bow of this boat I walked her inside, she was bleeding, she was wet and she was very upset so I gave her my jacket and said everything is going to be okay," Lombardi recalls.
Captain Manny Liba, his crew of two rescue another 14 of the 155 people on board.
They helped them, to lift them all the way in because they couldn't go all the way they were so frozen you know, very, very stiff, especially with standing on the wing of the airplane up to their knees in the water," Liba says.
In all, 14 New York Waterway ferries saved 143 passengers and crew members that day, The U.S. Coast Guard and FDNY saved another 12. Everyone survived. It is believed to be the most successful marine rescue in aviation history.
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