‘Miracle on the Hudson’ passenger shares story ahead of movie opening


CHARLOTTE, NC (WJZY) — On Friday, history involving Charlotte will be portrayed on the big screen in theaters nationwide in the movie “Sully.”

Dan Vinton, who lives in Charlotte, was a passenger on US Airways Flight 1549, the flight that made an emergency landing in the Hudson River in January 2009. The flight ran into a flock of birds, disabling both engines.

Vinton said the passengers heard an explosion. “It rocked the plane violently,” Vinton said.

Vinton said he thought he was going to die. “I said my goodbyes. I was pretty certain I was going to be dead,” Vinton said.

The lives of the 155 people on board were in the pilot’s hands. Vinton said they could smell smoke, but they got no instructions at first.

“As far as we knew, they were dead in the cockpit. We had no idea what was going on, that part of the unknown was extremely scary,” Vinton said.

Vinton said then the pilot told the passengers, “Brace for impact.”

They landed in the Hudson River on that frigid January day in 2009. Every single passenger was rescued. The flight was dubbed “The Miracle on the Hudson.”

“When they finally made that announcement that we all survived, I can’t tell you how great a feeling that was.”

The landing and their journey to safety was all because of Captain Chesley Sullenberger. The world has come to know him simply as “Sully.”

“He’s my hero, you ask any passenger on that flight, and he is absolutely our hero,” Vinton said.

Tom Hanks plays Sully in the movie “Sully” opening Friday. The film is directed by Clint Eastwood.

“We’re really, really excited about this movie, and we all can’t wait to see it,” Vinton said.

Dan still flies when he travels for work. He even flew home just one day after the “Miracle on the Hudson” flight.

“I woke up and said, ‘I don’t want to be driving 12-13 hours to see my family. I need to go home and see them right away,” Vinton said.

“I got to see the best in humanity that day. I got to see people stop what they were doing to help us out. It definitely gives you a better reflection on life,” Vinton said.

The “Miracle on the Hudson” plane is housed in Charlotte at the Carolinas Aviation Museum. Officials are hoping that interest in the movie “Sully” will bring more people out to the museum to learn more about Flight 1549.

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