A memorable three minutes

Recapping the flight from La Guardia to the Hudson River

After being warned to “brace for impact” by the pilot, passengers were told by the cabin crew to keep their feet planted on the ground and their head down. “As soon as we hit, we all jolted frontward and sideways, and then the water started coming in around my feet,” Elizabeth McHugh, who was on the flight, told the New York Times. Another passenger described the rescue effort as “organized chaos.” Jeff Kolodjay said he and his fellow travellers were “just looking to be calm, and walking a straight line.” Those on the ground, however, weren’t sure what was going on. “When you see a plane somewhere that it isn’t supposed to be, you get that eerie feeling,” Susan Obel, who lives in a 20th floor apartment near the river, told the Times. “I didn’t think it was a terrorist, but I did worry.” As another witness put it, the whole scene was surreal: “I actually thought it was a boat crash at first. It didn’t occur to me that it was a plane in the water.”

The New York Times