January 16, 2010 in City

Happy anniversary

US Airways Flight 1549 passengers reunite
Samantha Gross Associated Press
Associated Press photo

Passengers, crew and family members of the US Airways flight that made an emergency landing in New York’s Hudson River last year celebrate Friday.
(Full-size photo)

NEW YORK – Crying, cheering and embracing, the survivors of US Airways Flight 1549 raised a toast to life Friday, marking the anniversary of their harrowing water landing with a return to the place their crippled jet hit the Hudson River.

Hollering, they raised their glasses at 3:31 p.m., the moment of impact, on one of the ferries that plucked them shivering from the water just minutes after they splashed down. With the sun gleaming on the Hudson and festive sprays of water shooting into the sky behind them, they made the toast at the approximate place where the plane went down after a half-day of gatherings to mark their miraculous survival.

At the ferry terminal, Capt. Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger was mobbed by well-wishers. Passengers ran to get their cameras and pose with the man who was so instrumental in saving their lives.

For the toast, one passenger provided champagne. Another arranged for Grey Goose vodka to donate some bottles of liquor, said Pat Smith, a spokesman for NY Waterway, the employer of ferry crews that rescued many of the 155 people aboard. It was apparently a wry nod to the flock of geese that disabled the engines of the Airbus A320.

In a strange anniversary coincidence, the pilot of a two-seater plane heading toward the river to fly a banner marking the anniversary instead had to make an emergency landing at the former Fresh Kills landfill. The pilot was uninjured, police said.

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