You may have heard by now that an airplane made a stunning, safe crash landing into the Hudson River this afternoon. Here’s the plane’s flight path from La Guardia, created by Flickr user Imjustsayin:
I saw this from my office window, sort of. Aircraft go up and down the Hudson River all the time, and I remember looking out the window and thinking “Man, that plane is kinda low. I wonder what’s on Twitter?” and then going back to my computer. A fw minutes later I saw a post about the crash and thought “is this for real?”
Then a bunch of my co-workers came right up into my office and started pointing out the window. A building blocked the view of the plane itself, but we could see the ferry and police boats moving around. I work for a cable company, so you know every screen was on CNN moments after that.
Whenever anything bad and big happens in New York, everyone thinks the same thing: “Oh God. Is it another terrorist attack?” The feeling is sudden and irrational, but very powerful and VERY real. And the more people around, the more it’s magnified.
Our CEO’s security guy used to be in NYPD counterterrorism. That guy ALWAYS knows who to call. He made a quick call and told us it was a bird, then said “I know this sounds messed up, but really, this is the best body of water in the world for a plane to crash into. They got the NYPD port right down there, and those ferries comin’ back and forth to Jersey all day long. They’ll be on it fast.”
And they were, too. It’s so amazing, how everyone was saved to quickly and with so few injuries. I stood there, looking out my window like the thousands of New Yorkers who had a view, and all I could do was fantasize about helping. I had this vision of yanking off my tie and diving into the drink.
Instead I stood there and fidgeted with my pen, then went to a meeting. Nobody could really pay attention either. Someone from our office was on the flight. She was fine, like everyone else, just taken to the hospital and treated for a 3rd-degree case of cold and wet and terrified.
It’s a beautiful impulse, really, the human impulse to get involved. It means we care about people that aren’t in our immediate circle. It means that even in a town teeming with dirt, money and murder, at some level we’re all on the same team.