Five years ago, a
USAirways plane landed in the Hudson River after a bird strike knocked out the aircraft's
engines. Pilots Sully Sullenberger and
Jeff Skiles and some passengers marked the anniversary by re-uniting
with the ferry crews who rescued them.
Dave Sanderson said on a recent walk along the Hudson River, “I shouldn't be here right now man. I mean everything was going against us. And everything turned out right.”
When Sanderson was there five years ago, he was in the Hudson River. After helping others, he was the last passenger to get off Flight 1549.
Sanderson said from his hospital bed
five years ago, “I looked out for a lifeboat and I jumped into the water and
swam for the closest boat I could find.”
So did he have any regrets?
“I did have some regrets,” Sanderson said. “I was focused on the mission of making money.”
But that mission changed because of a blanket. Red Cross blankets warmed and comforted Sanderson and the other passengers. His new mission is to raise money for the Red Cross. Sanderson said, “That blanket is sort of my symbol that that day, it was about the team. It was about the first responders. It was a whole team effort, not just with the passengers and crew.”
In his spare time, he's helped raise more than $7 million for The Red Cross.
“I'm so grateful I have another chance,” Sanderson said. “I have another chance. To be able to do, not only what I want to do, but be with my family and impact somebody's life and I think that's my mission.”
On Wednesday, at Palisades Hospital, he gave his 455th speech. The hospital is where he spent his first few days after the "Miracle on the Hudson." Sanderson said, "I chose to take a pathway that was opened up that was a blessing to me. One hundred and fifty-four other people had blessings, too. Everybody's got to choose their pathway."
for more features.