Capt. Sully gives speech at Mahaffey on crash anniversary

Captain Sullenberger spoke in St. Petersburg on the anniversary Sunday night.

Eight years ago, a miracle happened on the Hudson.  Maybe you've seen the surveillance video or the fictionalized film starring Tom Hanks, but Darren Beck experienced it from seat 3A on US Airways Flight 1549.

"The plane shook violently when we struck the geese," Beck said. "I looked back and the engine normally would be a nice pristine fan blade. But there were mangled, twisted, flames coming out the back and the engine was shaking violently."

Beck says despite what you might think, it was calm in the cabin, even describing it as serenely quiet without the engine noise.

"He had that plane in control even with no engines," Beck said.

As Captain Chesley Sullenberger somehow landed the airplane safely on the Hudson River, Beck said it was a hard landing with major shock.

"I thought the plane was going to split apart. I thought it would roll or twist. I couldn't believe it when we came to a complete stop and we were sitting there flat," Beck said.

All 155 passengers and crew made it off the plane safely.  

"I look back on the eight years of memories I wouldn't have with my family and with my friends so it's unbelievable," Beck said.

Beck says his life changed because he tries to make the most of every moment. It's why he flew on Sunday's anniversary to join his parents, who live in St. Petersburg, as they went to watch "Sully" give a speech at the Mahaffey Theater.

"It just goes to show the importance of family and spending that time. Selfishly, I am not going to pass up a chance to tell Sully once again, 'Thank you for saving our lives'.  Just never seems like enough," Beck said.

© 2017 WTSP-TV


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