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die hard is a xmas movie | by maryann johanson

plane crash in Hudson! video… when?

My clock radio woke me up this morning with the deejays talking to a guy on the phone who witnessed the plane crash — or maybe we need to call it the plane landing, so nonviolent and walk-away-able it appears to have been — in the Hudson River yesterday afternoon. This guy was the first one to call it in to 911 — the operator thought he was joking, the news was that fresh.

As as I lay in bed listening to them chat about how “amazing” and “unbelievable” and “mindblowing” the whole thing was — from how gentle the landing seemed to be to how the plane just floated there afterward to how, after 9/11, it took all of us New Yorkers a long time to stop jumping every time a plane flew low over Manhattan, I thought: Somebody videotaped this landing. Someone has video of this plane touching gently down on the river.

It’s inevitable. The numbers are simply in its favor. There must be tens of thousands, minimum, of windows that overlook this part of the Hudson, on both sides of the river, apartments and offices alike. There are always people on the river and on the docks: police, Coast Guard, ferry crews and passengers; dinner cruise employees would have been getting ready for yesterday evening’s sails at the time this happened, and where they board are right where the plane landed. There’s a lot of water traffic in New York.
So if even only a tiny percentage of the people who could have been looking were actually looking, that should probably still leave hundreds, minimum, who actually saw the plane land.

The CNN report I linked to above includes this:

The final moments of the flight were watched with admiration by Ben Vonklemperer, who was on a conference call on the 25th floor of an office building in Times Square at 3:31 p.m., when he looked up.

“If someone’s going to land a plane in the water, this seemed the best possible way to do it,” he said. “The way they hit, it was very gradual. A very slow contact with the water.”

And if only a small percentage of those hundreds actually realized what was going to happen — the plane would have been flying much lower than it should have and there was no place else for it to go except into the river, so alarms should have gone off in the heads of some people — and actually picked up their cell phones or digital cameras and recorded the landing, that should still leave us with potentially dozens of instances of video.

I poked around a bit on YouTube this morning and couldn’t find anything other than news reports from after the crash featuring the admittedly stunning footage of the plane in the river. I couldn’t find any eyewitness video of the landing itself. If you come across some, please let me know, because I would love to feature it as my web video of the day.

If you actually have that video because you made it yourself and you’d like to share it, please let me know. I’d be happy to help you upload it to YouTube if you don’t know how to do it.

The police-shooting video I featured a few days ago is a terrible story to think about, and cannot possibly have any kind of happy ending for anyone involved, and indeed, is unpleasant to watch, however important it may be in a legal or cultural sense. But video of this plane landing would be a remarkably positive. and even uplifting thing to see. I want that guy, US Airways veteran pilot C.B. “Sully” Sullenberger, flying my plane next time I fly, and I bet everyone who flies feels exactly the same way.

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