How Captain Chesley Sullenberger's skill saved 155 lives.
As flight 1549 climbed away from New York's La Guardia Airport, Jeff Kolodjay leaned back in his seat and smiled at the thought of the golfing trip ahead of him in sunny North Carolina.
It was the coldest day of the winter in New York with temperatures way below zero.
The ten-year-old Airbus 320 ascended smoothly to 2,800ft, then 3,200.
It had been snowing on Thursday morning and Mr Kolodjay took in the picture-postcard view below him of Washington Heights and the Hudson River.
Going down: A witness's photo shows the stricken Airbus over the Hudson River.
Four rows behind him sat 37-year-old Vallie Collins, a mother of three. At 3.26pm, less than a minute after take-off, both sat forward with a jolt. There was a boom which seemed to rock the plane.
Mr Kolodjay, 31, turned to the window to see flames leaping from the engine.
Mrs Collins could smell smoke and reached for her mobile telephone to punch out a message to her family. It read: 'My plane is crashing.'
She said: 'I thought, "OK, I'm not going to see my husband and children again." And I just want them to know at this point, they were the number one thought in my mind.' There was no time for the final three words she wanted to include: 'I love you.'
In the cockpit Captain Chesley B Sullenberger III had radioed New York air traffic control to say his plane had suffered a 'double bird strike' taking out both engines.
He had spotted a runway across the Hudson River in northern New Jersey. What was it? It was Teterboro Airport, a strip popular with corporate jets. Sullenberger asked for permission to make an emergency landing.
Air traffic controllers say an 'eerie calm' descended on them as they examined their options. Return to LaGuardia? Too far. Land at Teterboro? The plane wouldn't make that either.
Before they could give any advice radio contact was lost. Radar showed the jet making a series of tight turns to the left to head down the river, flying low over the George Washington Bridge.
On board passengers and the three flight attendants were saying their prayers.
Mr Kolodjay said a Hail Mary. 'We thought that was it,' he said. 'The end.'
Over the intercom, the captain sounded amazingly calm. 'Brace for impact,' he announced. 'We are going down.'
As the Airbus hit the Hudson, passengers were thrown forward but somehow Sullenburger held it steady despite the enormous splash witnessed by crews of commuter ferries on the great river.
As icy water began penetrating the cabin, it was 'controlled chaos', said Dave Sanderson, 47, a father of four, who had been sitting halfway down the plane. 'People started running up the aisle. People were getting shoved out of the way. We had survived the crash, but we were going to drown.'
For Mrs Collins, the most terrifying moment came when she was caught in the back galley of the plane - water seeping in from exits which would open only a crack, and dozens of passengers bearing down on her, frantic to get out.
'I was trying as hard as I could to push both of those doors,' she said. She was up to her waist in water, seat cushions floating between the passengers. 'I put my hands up and said, "You can't get out this way. Go to the wings! Keep moving, people! We're going to make it. Stay calm".'
A flight attendant added to the atmosphere of hysteria, however, by warning: 'We probably only have two minutes.'
Martin and Tess Sosa were travelling with their children, four-year-old Sophia and Damian, at nine months the youngest passenger on the plane.
'Coming down was like a rollercoaster ride, just like you see in the movies,' said Mr Sosa.
'There was impact and then I could hear my son crying - that was a good sign to me. The next thing you know the water is coming into the cabin. It was horrendous. There were people jumping over one another. Some were even going for their luggage.'
His wife said: 'I stayed out of harm's way in the passenger seat while everyone stormed through the aisles. Only one gentleman stopped and said, "Can I help you guys get to the exit?".'
Passengers clambered up on top of the seats. 'Women and children first!' some male passengers shouted as others made their way out the doors at the front and middle of the plane, and on to the wings.
One woman had a three-year-old child, and other passengers on a raft told her to toss the girl to them. She did and then got on the raft herself.
Mr Sanderson said one woman initially refused to get off the plane until she had her luggage, but they eventually persuaded her to flee.
The last out was Captain Sullenberger after walking twice the length of the cabin to ensure no one was inside.
Outside, the air temperature was -6C and those huddled on the wing or in the water were going limp and could not have survived more than a few minutes. The captain and his crew gave their jackets to freezing passengers.
Passenger Barry Leonard was in serious danger of hypothermia after initially leaping into the water before making it to a raft.
'I was obviously very cold and one of the crew turned to me and said, "Please take off your wet shirt and I'll give you my dry one",' he recalled.
'And he gave me his shirt. He literally gave me the shirt off his back to keep me warmer. I still have it. And I'm never going to give it up.'
Incredibly, by the time the passengers had reached the wings, rescuers were virtually alongside the ferries which ply the waters between New York and New Jersey.
The last time an airliner crash landed on water is believed to have been in 1996, when three Ethiopians seeking political asylum hijacked a plane from Addis Ababa to Nairobi. It ran out of fuel over the Indian Ocean and 125 of the 175 passengers and crew on board were killed.
Chilling sight: The plane began to sink into the icy Hudson River last night but thankfully all passengers and crew were safe… (By David Williams).
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