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Purdue Grad, Pilot Praised For 'Miracle On The Hudson'

Last updated on Friday, January 16, 2009

(UNDATED) - A flock of birds likely disabled the two engines on a US Airways jetliner just after it took off from New York’s La Guardia Airport Thursday afternoon.

The plane ditched in the Hudson River near Midtown Manhattan. All 155 people aboard were quickly pulled to safety aboard rescue craft and private boats.

Retired US Airways Captain Joe Henderson says the pilot, Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger, performed a textbook ditch into the Hudson River. Henderson says it was the pilots only choice after both engines were disabled by the birds.

Henderson has extensive flying experience into La Guardia Airport as well, and he says any takeoff or landing is 75 percent over water. He adds Sullenberger would not have been able to fly back to La Guardia and if he had tried to make it to Neward Airport, he would have crashed into buildings.

Captain Henderson says the pilots and crew are very well trained for this type of emergency landing.

Pilot Sullenberger has ties to Indiana. Sullenberger graduated from Purdue University.

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