Another "Miracle on the Hudson" occurred on Sunday, and this time the hero pilot was only 23 years old.
Helicopter pilot Michael Campbell spoke to the Daily News about the harrowing experience on Monday, only one day after he saved four passengers by successfully landing his downward-spiraling helicopter in the Hudson River.
Campbell, who lives in Woodbridge, N.J., had just taken off with four Swedish tourists on a helicopter tour above New York City when he heard a loud noise.
“I knew something wasn’t right, they knew something wasn’t right,” Campbell told the Daily News. “You have to remain calm because if I started to panic nothing good was going to come of it."
Campbell glided the helicopter to a safe landing in the river and deployed pontoons near the 79th Street Boat Basin, a marina located on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.
“I was in tunnel vision,” he said. “I was in the zone.”
According to the Daily News, the FAA has launched an investigation into the incident, which happened only minutes after the helicopter left the heliport in downtown Manhattan.
Meanwhile, Campbell’s daring maneuver—called an autorotation—has earned him comparisons to Capt. Chesley Sullenberger, a seasoned pilot who splash-landed US Airways Flight 1549 in the Hudson on Jan. 15, 2009, and saved 155 passengers and crew members. That incident became known as the "Miracle on the Hudson."
“I’m not a hero,” said Campbell about the comparisons to Sullenberger. “Me and Sully were just in the wrong place at the wrong time but we did what was necessary to make sure everybody went home. That’s all anybody can ask for.”
- Michael Campbell