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Helicopter lands on Hudson River [VIDEO]

By GABRIELLE LEVY, UPI.com   |   July 1, 2013 at 2:07 PM   |   Comments

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July 1 (UPI) -- New Yorkers will have to be forgiven if they start calling 23-year-old helicopter pilot Michael Campbell "Sully."

In fact, they're calling Campbell's actions "Miracle on the Hudson 2."

After the power cut in the engines of his sightseeing chopper Sunday, Campbell managed to safely splash-land the aircraft in the Hudson River, in a maneuver not dissimilar to the one in which U.S. Airways pilot Chelsey "Sully" Sullenberger landed an Airbus A320 in the river in 2009.

All four passengers aboard -- Swedes Anna Soderblom, 45, her two teenaged children and her boyfriend, Jyrki Valiharju, 44 -- were unharmed.

Campbell, the city's youngest pilot, was modest in recalling his adventures.

“I was just doing my job,” he said. “It’s the exact same route I fly every day. I’ve flown it hundreds of times.”

Campbell has worked for New York Helicopter about a year, and has been flying for about 5 years. But Sunday, 12 minutes into his regular route, his "biggest fear" came true.

"All of a sudden, I heard the noises, a big boom," he said. "I had about 20 seconds before I hit the ground."

"I first had to confirm my biggest fear -- that the engine was out," he said. "I just needed to stay calm -- because if I panicked, I knew it wouldn't be a very good ending."

What happened next was like turning an umbrella inside out, he said, but fortunately, "helicopters can glide."

Maneuvering the helicopter over the river, he opened the emergency pontoons to keep the chopper upright once it splashed down.

Ten minutes later, boats met the helicopter mid-river.

"They didn't even get wet!" said NYPD spokesman Paul Browne.

Fire Department Deputy Chief Thomas McKavanagh agreed.

"The pilot did a terrific job," he said -- Sully style. "A smaller version. Absolutely."

Follow @gabbilevy and @UPI on Twitter.
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