"Miracle on the Hudson" survivor to speak at Red Cross Gala - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

"Miracle on the Hudson" survivor to speak at Red Cross Gala

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WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - When Dave Sanderson boarded US Airways Flight 1549 in New York five years ago, he expected his trip home to Charlotte to be like many others he'd taken. What the businessman didn't know was that he was about to become a part of aviation history.

Sanderson was one of 150 passengers along with five crew members on the plane that crash landed on the Hudson River--now known as the "Miracle on the Hudson."

Sanderson recalls what happened right after the airbus took flight.

"About 60 seconds after we took off is when we heard the explosion," Sanderson said.

The aircraft struck a flock of Canada Geese.

Captain Chesley Sullenburger alerted the passengers to prepare telling them to "brace for impact."

Sanderson said at that moment, the plane got silent."

"The only thing you could hear was a lady in the back of the plane saying the Lord's Prayer," Sanderson said. "It was like a movie where your life really flashes before your eyes."

Captain Sullenberger successfully landed the plane on the river. While some of the passengers were injured, everyone survived.

During a Skype interview with WECT Thursday night from his home in Charlotte, Sanderson said the experience on board Flight 1549 has changed the way he reacts to news of plane crashes.

He talked about the missing Malaysian flight.

"Those people on that plane had to manage so many things so quickly like we did and until you've been through something like we went through in six minutes, you can't imagine what happens," he said. 

Sanderson was the last to get off US Airways Flight 1549. He says his mother spoke to him and said to help others get off the plane.

He did but by the time he was able to exit, the wing of the plane was full of people as well as a boat that was transporting passengers to dry land.

Sanderson had to tread water until he could be rescued and ended up with hyperthermia. He says Red Cross volunteers got him some sweat pants and a dry shirt.

This Saturday, Sanderson will be the guest speaker at the Red Cross Gala in Wilmington. The black tie event is taking place at the Burney Center on the campus of UNCW.

Tickets are still available.

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