Salvaging Flight 1549

In case you missed it, this past Friday was the one-year anniversary of the so-called “Miracle on the Hudson,” in which airline captain “Sully” Sullenberger successfully ditched his crippled Airbus A320 in the Hudson River alongside Manhattan without losing a single life. (Human life, that is; God only knows how many poor birds got themselves puree’d inside Flight 1549’s massive CFM International turbofan engines.)

This morning, there’s a new video floating around the ‘net that shows what happened after the passengers and crew were rescued. It’s a fascinating timelapse of the salvage operation that lifted the sunken airliner out of the freezing waters of the river and got it placed onto a barge. The photographer had a perfect vantage point, and the video is really quite beautiful. In particular, I found the ice surging and waning around the plane’s wing and vertical stabilizer — the only parts of 1549 that were above the water for three days — weirdly hypnotic. Give it a look:

Exclusive unseen video footage of the Miracle on the Hudson, flight 1549 New York City from David Martin on Vimeo.

I am one of those weirdos who sentimentalize and anthropomorphize machines, especially those that perform beyond expectations to save the lives of the people who ride within them, so I’m not at all ashamed to admit that I teared up a bit when 1549 re-emerges into the air. Of course, the music probably helps. It’s a selection from the soundtrack of Michael Bay’s Transformers, and I found it unexpectedly effective.

The guy who created this video, David Hugh Martin, has posted a number of still photos and some comments here; I found his video via Andrew Sullivan.


2 comments on “Salvaging Flight 1549

  1. chenopup

    Interesting thing is we’re so used to salvage operations (videos / photos) being antiqued or ancient craft. Nothing as new or in as good of shape as this airbus, yet there is still a ghostly feel with the whole video, regardless of no one perishing in the crash.

  2. Cranky Robert

    Really cool video!