Harrowing

On Board Flight 1549

What was it like aboard Flight 1549? The passengers included 23 Bank of America executives and an Australian pop singer named Emma Sophina. When passengers reached the exit, the life raft was upside down and out of reach, and three passengers linked like monkeys from a barrel and leaned out of the plane to retrieve it. One man fell into the freezing water and was pulled out by the other passengers. According to another passenger, one woman was struggling to retrieve her luggage. "Another gentleman who did a great job—he's a hero—actually picked her up and threw her on the lifeboat." At some points, the story turns absurdly comic, as when passengers trying to help a mother on the wing of the plane instructed her to "throw the baby." After the landing, the passengers gathered at a downtown hotel, drank martinis, returned to La Guardia, and boarded Flight 2591 to Charlotte at 10 p.m.