03/24/2009 08:33 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Sully Miraculously Onboard as Runaway Amtrak Train Lands Safely in Hudson

NEW YORK (Sportsman's Daily Wire Service) The 8:20 Amtrak train out of Penn Station was expected to arrive in Albany at 10:50, carrying a contingent of NY lawmakers who were accompanied by Chesley
Sullenberger, the celebrated pilot who was to be honored in the state capital later in the morning. But somewhere between the Poughkeepsie and Rhinecliff-Kingston stations -- which are fifteen minutes apart - the train ran the rails and began its plunge into the cold waters of the Hudson River below.

Amid the shrieks and cries of the horror-stricken passengers and crew, Sullenberger remained as unflappable as Ben Hogan bending over a three foot putt.

"When one of the assemblymen landed in my lap I knew immediately it was a very serious situation," said Sullenberger. "We were rapidly losing altitude and unable to reach the next station, which by my rough estimate was some 10 minutes away. We were running out of we decided to use the Hudson as an emergency runway, or whatever it is trains use to land. I was confident we'd manage to get the train down safely and in one piece."

With characteristic - by now, legendary - humility, Sullenberger brushed aside references to his heroism.

"We are trained for these situations," he said. "Instinct, combined with preparation, takes over. I was just doing what I was trained to do."

Passengers effusively thanked "Sully," and expressed their great good fortune in having him on hand to guide them to safety. However the train's conductor Karl Bohm, a 20 year Amtrak veteran, took issue with the description of the events leading up to the splash landing. Bohm insisted that, as much as he admires Sullenberger, the hero pilot had nothing to do with what New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg immediately dubbed "The Return of the Miracle on the Hudson."

"I don't know how to say this exactly, as Mr. Sullenberger is a true American hero, but, but, but...with all due respect he was sitting three cars away when we began our descent," said Bohm. "The only thing Chesley Sullenberger contributed was the idea that you could safely set down a megaton mass transit conveyance in a large body of water. I never would have thought it could be done."

All 143 passengers survived, though it took rescuers thirty minutes to fish a copier salesman from the cold waters, who had been clinging to NY representative Jerrod Nadler, who was himself thrown from the train. Minutes after his rescue, the portly representative used the opportunity to demand that flotation devices - and cyanide pellets -- be made mandatory aboard all Amtrak trains.

"Today we learned, yet again, that, not to split hairs, there's a difference between safely ditching a train - or plane -- and crashing one," said Amtrak spokesman Hank Hamilton. "All thanks to Sully's quick thinking and cool under pressure. He is an inspiration to us all."

With that, Long Island native Jeff Byrd lead his fellow New Yorkers in a spontaneous cheer that captured the festive mood. "J-E-T-S...Jets!! Jets!!! Jets!!!"