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Hero pilot recalls remarkable landing

Feb. 6, 2009 at 8:05 AM

NEW YORK, Feb. 6 (UPI) -- Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger, the pilot whose incredible water landing saved his 155 passengers, says he knew at the outset "it was very bad."

"It was the worst sickening, pit-of-your-stomach, falling-through-the-floor feeling I've ever felt in my life," Sullenberger told Katie Couric in an interview to be broadcast Sunday on CBS's "60 Minutes."

Sullenberger set his Airbus A320 down in the Hudson River near midtown Manhattan after the plane, US Airways Flight 1549, struck a flock of large birds just after takeoff from New York's La Guardia Airport for Charlotte, N.C., last month.

Contact with the birds took out both of the plane's engines, Sullenberger recalls. An eerie silence and a disturbing smell followed, a moment like no other for the aircraft's captain.

Sullenberger, who told "60 Minutes" his initial reaction was "one of disbelief," then began to make the decisions and maneuvers that led to the amazing landing.

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