On January 15, 2009, US Airways Flight 1549 took off from New York City. The plane was headed for North Carolina, and its trip began uneventfully. But less than three minutes after takeoff, disaster struck.
The plane flew straight through a flock of geese. As you may know, birds and jet engines are not a good combination! The passengers heard loud noises, then saw flames through the windows as both engines stopped.
The copilot tried to get the engines working again, but it was no good. Although the plane was more than half a mile in the air, it couldn’t stay aloft for long. Just five minutes after takeoff, Flight 1549 was falling back to earth with nothing to stop it.
The pilot decided that his passengers’ only hope for survival was to crash-land—what pilots call “ditching”—in the Hudson River. Here’s what happened next.
Show your students the following video [3:53]:
How All Passengers Survived the Miracle on the Hudson
When you hear about a plane crash on the news, you often find out that some of the people aboard—more frequently all of them—died. But in this case, all 155 people on the plane were rescued! That’s why this incident has become known as the “Miracle on the Hudson.”
- Before you saw the video, how did you expect the story of Flight 1549 to end? (Some of your students may have been hoping for a happy ending. However, many of them will probably acknowledge that they expected a tragic conclusion.)
- What would you say are the key reasons this story ended as a miracle rather than a tragedy? (Answers will vary. Accept reasonable answers, but help students to see that the pilot took quick control of the situation, the flight crew took quick control over the passengers, and the people sitting in the exit rows took quick control over getting the doors unlatched and the slide rafts into position.)
Most of us aren’t facing a plane crash today, but there are always things that seem out of our control.
- What kind of things that you face make you feel out of control? (Answers will vary; be sure you’re prepared to share your own experience if needed to get the conversation going.)
- How do you handle experiences that are out of your control? How do you respond? (Answers will vary.)
Today, we’re going to talk about a really bad situation completely out of Joseph’s control and how God used that to bring about a miracle.
US Airways Flight