Do You Believe in Miracles? Captain Sullenberger Adds New Dimension to Conversation
Some people theorize there is no such thing as miracles; others that miracles may happen … just not to ordinary people. U.S. Airways Flight 1549 and Captain Sullenberger may just prove both theories wrong.
“If we could see the miracle of a single flower clearly, our whole life would change.”
- Gautema Dissharta
Many people simply don’t believe in miracles; others are ambivalent about them; and then, there are those like me who believe that miracles are as much a part of life as the air we breathe.
If you’re one of the unbelievers, take a moment to consider U.S. airways Flight 1549.
As we all know by now, that flight crash landed in New York’s Hudson River this past week due, it is believed, to two bird strikes.
New York’s Governor, David A. Paterson, was the first to call the incident, “The miracle on the Hudson.” And, for good reason. I believe it was indeed a miracle that all 155 passengers not only survived a jet crash in frigid weather and water, but that there was only one serious injury.
By the way, chances are excellent that when the movie is made, it will be titled … The Miracle on the Hudson.
Miracles are defined as the supernatural suspension of the normal laws of nature.
There are many who will argue that there was nothing supernatural about the event, but that the outcome was the result of the actions of the heroic and amazingly skilled pilot, Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger III.
It is true that Sullenberger is extraordinarily skilled and incredibly heroic, however there were other elements involved that raised the outcome above the level of “lucky”, “fortunate”, or totally due to one individual.
Some of the reasons I believe the miracle of Flight 1549 was just that … a miracle, are based on recorded and eyewitness accounts beginning with the flight’s pilot:
Mr. Sullenberger & His Perfect Landing
A former F4 fighter pilot with the Air Force; a pilot with U.S. airways since 1980 with over 19,000 hours flying time; a private consultant for maintaining discipline/calm in emergencies; and a certified glider pilot. In short, a man of incredible skill, discipline, professionalism. All of Mr. Sullenberger’s peers (former/current pilots), as well as everyone knowledgeable about aviation concurs that the degree of difficulty involved in successfully crash landing in a body of water is off the charts. Sullenberger is the first pilot to pull it off without a hitch (and in a commercial jet)!!
What are the chances that Chesley Sullenberger would have been the pilot of that flight, that day, in that location (where there was someplace to land other than downtown Manhattan), when the geese were sucked into the airplane’s two engines? Normally, slim to none.
Clear Landing Path
Everyone familiar with the area agrees that, particularly in winter months, there’s a high level of traffic (boats, ferries, etc.), on the Hudson. There was nothing in the path of the airplane as it came to a smooth, perfect landing in the river; so perfect the aircraft’s body stayed intact.
Back Door of Aircraft Would Not Open
Once the airplane was stopped in the water, a flight attendant tried to open the back door of the airplane to deplane passengers, but it wouldn’t open. She then directed everyone to another exit door midway the airplane. All the experts agree the airplane wouldn’t have stayed afloat nearly as long if that door had opened.
According to many witnesses, when passengers realized the airplane was in trouble; and a few minutes later when the pilot announced that they should brace for impact, instead of screams, cries, or excitement, there was calm. Many people were praying aloud. I’ve been involved in a couple of air challenges, and believe me, calm is not how I would have described the reaction of passengers. If prayer changes things, collective prayer can indeed move mountains.
155 passengers/crew. 155 survivors.
I think many of us will long remember the image of approximately 150 people standing on the two wings of that airplane looking as if they are – if not walking on water – at least standing on top of water. Do I believe that image was coincidental? No, I think the image is in line with the event and a visual reminder that will live forever.
I also believe there is a purpose behind every miracle; a message to be gleaned. I don’t profess to have the answer to this one … maybe just a reminder of Who is really in charge. I don’t know. I do believe though that what happened to Flight 1549 was definitely a miracle.
So, what about you? Do you believe in miracles?