12 years later: Miracle on Hudson survivor recalls terrifying moments before landing, “I said my goodbyes.”

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) – Twelve years ago, the scene in the Hudson River in New York City was one that would be hard to forget. A plane was floating on the water with passengers climbing out.

Over the years, steps have been taken to preserve what’s left in the plane.

“It rocked the plane violently,” flight 1549 passenger Dan Vinton said.

Vinton thought he would never make it off of that plane. He and 154 other passengers went down in the Hudson River after hitting a flock of geese, shutting down the plane’s engine. They were leaving New York, headed for Charlotte.

“I said my goodbyes and I was pretty certain I was going to be dead,” Vinton said.

Fast forward to today, all passengers were safely rescued from the plane and the wreckage was stored at the Carolinas Aviation Museum in Charlotte. For six months, the museum has been closed for reconstruction.

“While it is in storage, we are continuing to work on the research of that experience, the research of the plane and those involved. We’re working on the preservation of that aircraft long-term,” said Stephen Saucier, President of the Carolinas Aviation Museum.

Saucier says the goal is to reinvent the presentation, address corrosion of the plane, and deal with technical issues. By the museum’s reopening date in late 2023, the president hopes to bring more visitors who are interested in aviation.

“We want to make sure we’re telling the authentic story. Not just of the aircraft, but the people who went through this experience,” he said.

Carolinas Aviation Museum had over 74,000 visitors before closing in 2019.

“I got to see the best in humanity that day. I got to see people stop what they were doing and help us out,” Vinton said.

And with stories like the Miracle on Hudson, they plan to have more visitors for years to come.

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