NatGeo Takes a Different Approach to the ‘Miracle Landing on the Hudson’

Miracle Landing on the Hudson Details
REENACTMENT: Doreen Welsh (Miriam Lucia) in the water while passengers try to stay afloat after the plane crashes in the water. (Photo Credit: National Geographic Channels/Stuart Freedman)

National Geographic Channel is once again exploring the Miracle Landing on the Hudson, but this time the network’s approaching the story from the point of view of the passengers. Captain Sully Sullenberger’s story has been told but now it’s time for those who were passengers on board US Airways Flight #1549 to recall the incredible events surrounding the crash landing and their subsequent rescue.

Miracle Landing on the Hudson will premiere on June 22, 2014 at 9pm ET/PT on the National Geographic Channel. The two-hour movie will feature interviews with those involved along with dramatic reconstructions. According to NatGeo, the film is “narration-free” and instead comes to life on the small screen via “tense and horrifying recollections of the passengers on board that fateful flight.”

Simon George wrote and directed Miracle Landing on the Hudson. Louise Norman, Bart Layton, and Madeleine Carter executive produced the special.

Details on Miracle Landing on the Hudson, Courtesy of National Geographic Channel:

Even before a double bird strike destroyed the engines and plunged US Airways Flight 1549 into the Hudson River on that January 2009 day, some passengers were tense. Pam Seagle describes a disturbing dream about a smoke-filled plane one night and her thought upon taking that flight: “I shouldn’t be doing this, shouldn’t be doing it.” Other passengers describe the anxiety that was pitted in their stomach when the gate was changed as well as the “rushed,” “hasty” takeoff.

Tess Sosa, a new mother traveling with her infant son who was seated away from her husband and 4-year-old daughter, describes: “It was a maddening moment when we were just taxiing off … there was a point where I stood up and I just wanted to get off the plane.”

Eileen Shleffar had read information about plane crashes occurring in the first 90 seconds after takeoff: “I’ve made it a habit to count that off and then I feel a little safer. … I start my count, ‘One one thousand, two one thousand, three one thousand. … I remember stopping and looking around and thinking, ‘I’ve lost my count, what am I on?’” Then, just seconds later, a BOOM. “The first thing I thought of really was 9/11. I was terrified and I froze.”

Throughout Miracle Landing on the Hudson, passengers recall the moment that the plane “just shook and shuddered,” and the smell of “maybe an electrical fire” that filled the cabin.

“I looked out my left window and I, I saw sparks flying off the engine. Then it stopped suddenly. And it got really quiet. You could have heard a pin drop. It was all in slow motion,” says Brad Wentzell. “You’re saying to yourself, ‘Oh no, this is really happening.’ And I looked to [the woman beside me], I said, ‘I think you should pray.’”

We’ll also be in the cabin when passengers describe their response to the captain’s words “brace for impact!’”

· “I don’t think many people hear those words and are here to talk about it afterwards,” says Doreen Welsh.

· “This is really happening. I’m going to die,” thought Wentzell.

· “As human beings, we all know we’re going to die, but you never think it’s going to be today. We always assume we’ve got a tomorrow … that was not a true assumption anymore,” says Vallie Collins.

· Says Jim Whitaker: “I don’t even know if I can adequately describe what it’s like to think, ‘In the next moment, you’re going to be dead.’”

Then, Miracle Landing on the Hudson brings to life the “extremely, extremely violent” landing on the water using one of the largest outdoor green screen re-creations ever filmed in the U.K., while the real passengers give their second-by-second description of the anxious moments afterward: realizing they weren’t dead, seeing the water quickly approaching their ankles and the ensuing pandemonium when people started crawling over the seats to get out.

From start to finish, Miracle Landing on the Hudson takes us inside the minds of 155 unexpected heroes and their amazing attempts to survive despite hysteria and fear on that ill-fated flight.

Source: National Geographic Channel