Memphis woman recalls Hudson River splashdown - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Jason Miles

Memphis woman recalls Hudson River splashdown

Claudette Mason Claudette Mason
Mason believes a higher power had a hand in making sure everybody on board made it out alive. Mason believes a higher power had a hand in making sure everybody on board made it out alive.

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - "My toes were freezing...My fingers were freezing."

From the comfort of a couch in a warm living room, Claudette Mason recalled Saturday what it was like to be rescued from the icy waters of the Hudson River.

"It's just amazing the passengers were as calm as we all were," she said.

Mason and more than 150 others had just experienced every air traveler's worst fear.  Their US Airways flight happened to crash land minutes after take-off from a New York City airport.

"I'm giving the Captain due justice," she said.  "I mean, he did an outstanding job landing that plane," she adds.

But Mason believes a higher power had a hand in making sure everybody on board made it out alive.

"What other explanation could you have for such an impact and then everybody walk away?" she asked.

The pilot twice told air controllers that he was unable to control the plane after reporting a quote "double bird strike."

"I was in seat 22-D," Mason said.

She quickly knew something was wrong.

"We heard this loud "poof" on the right side of the plane," she said.

Mason then locked arms with a man in the seat next to her and started praying.

"And then, we got the dreaded phrase 'prepare for impact,'" she said.

But, she can recall rougher landings on land and, could not imagine a smoother evacuation from the plane.

"It seemed so calm, cool, and collected," she said.

Mason used her cell phone to call her family while standing on the plane's wing.

"I said, 'Look, I'm in the middle of the Hudson standing on the wing.  I don't know how this is gonna turn out.  However it turns out, I just want all of you to know I love you and it will be okay,'" she said.

Mason believes her "miracle landing" was indeed a message from God.

"He needed to show this miracle for people to know there is hope and there is a tomorrow," she said.

Mason said she had reservations about getting back onto a plane to fly home to Memphis.  But she wanted to get it behind her since she often flies for work.


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