US Airways Flight 1549 was US Airways’ scheduled domestic commercial passenger flight from LaGuardia Airport in New York City to Charlotte/Douglas International Airport, Charlotte, North Carolina. On January 15, 2009, the aircraft flying this route, an Airbus A320-214, was successfully ditched in the Hudson River adjacent to midtown Manhattan six minutes after takeoff from LaGuardia Airport after being disabled by striking a flock of Canada Geese during its initial climb out. The incident became known as the “Miracle On The Hudson”.
The bird strike, which occurred just northeast of the George Washington Bridge about three minutes into the flight, resulted in an immediate and complete loss of thrust from both engines. When the aircrew of the Airbus 320 determined that they would be unable to reliably reach any airfield, they turned southbound and glided over the Hudson, finally ditching the airliner near the USS Intrepid museum about three minutes after losing power. All 155 occupants safely evacuated the airliner, which was still virtually intact though partially submerged and slowly sinking, and were quickly rescued by nearby watercraft.
The entire crew of Flight 1549 was later awarded the Master’s Medal of the Guild of Air Pilots and Air Navigators. The award citation read, “This emergency ditching and evacuation, with the loss of no lives, is a heroic and unique aviation achievement.” It has been described as “the most successful ditching in aviation history.”