New York, New York - Suffering from dementia, short-term memory loss and the indignity of having his driver's license recently revoked by the California Department of Motor Vehicles for failing to pass his driver's test, Captain, Chesley B. "Sully" Sullenberger III, of US Airways Airbus 320 commercial flight 1549 made an unscheduled stopover in the Hudson River on Thursday.
Although the FAA is investigating the remarkable river landing as a crash, the veteran WWII P-38J Lightning fighter pilot insists he made a textbook landing at Charlotte/Douglas airport instead.
Other accounts from the FAA's preliminary interviews with the crew and passengers also suggest that Captain "Sully" suffered some kind of metal episode during the flight that caused him to mistake the Hudson River for an airport tarmac.
"I don't know what went wrong," said the copilot. "I left the cockpit to use the bathroom for just a couple of minutes. When I got back we were flying over the Hudson River with Captain 'Sully' thanking the passengers for flying with him, instructing them to fasten their seatbelts and telling them that he hoped they enjoyed their flight."
Flight data from the air traffic controller has confirmed dual catastrophic engine failure between the time the copilot left to use the facilities and when he returned; however, until the black box is recovered and the data within analyzed, the cause of the failure has yet to be determined with any degree of certainty.
Meanwhile, passengers reported hearing two very loud consecutive explosions followed by the smell of methane that quickly filled up the cabin.
"Only it didn't come from the engines," said one passenger. "It came from the restroom. And it didn't smell like jet fuel either. More like someone had a bad burrito for lunch."
Passengers collectively attributed the noises and foul odor to the copilot, who was using the lavatory at the time and therefore only became alarmed when moments later, the plane made an abrupt u-turn over Manhattan.
"That's when the Captain's voice first come on over the public address system, and the 'fasten your seatbelts sign' flashed," said another passenger. "We all looked at each other not knowing what was going on. We asked the stewardess, but she didn't know either."
Crew and passengers were shocked to see the Hudson River just outside their windows directly beneath them.
"That's when I knew we were going down," said airline stewardess, Jane Moore, who then immediately began instructing the passengers on how to use their seats as floatation devices. Only no one was paying attention to her.
Amazingly, passengers were too busy texting their loved ones, telling them that they were going to crash and that they loved them, according to Moore.
"I would have called using my cell phone," later explained one passenger. "But do [you] have any idea what they charge? An arm and a leg, I tell yah. Take my word for it texting is way cheaper. Besides, I didn't want my wife to get hit with any roaming charges. You know, just in case I didn't make it. I mean I could see her in my mind coming home after the funeral all dressed in black, crying and sobbing. Then as she opens up the phone bill she looks up at me in heaven and says to me, 'Joey, you selfish bastard. You didn't have to call. You could've texted me instead. It's way cheaper."
Frustrated that no one was paying attention to her life saving instructions, Moore then picked up her Black Berry and began texting the passengers, informing them that way on emergency crash procedures.
"I'd text them with the instructions, even when to look up for a nonverbal demonstration and reenactment from me," said Moore. "Then they'd text me back with any follow up questions they might have. It took a little more time than usual, but I think the results speak for themselves."
Unfortunately, as the plane hit the water, passengers dropped their cell phones, iPhones and Black Berries onto the floor.
"Every one scrambled to pick theirs up," said Moore. "But in the panic no one checked to see if the one they grabbed actually belonged to them."
In the heat of the moment, passengers continued texting professions of their love, heartfelt confessions and apologies for wrong doings, only now to complete strangers.
Fortunately, the confusion provided just enough of a distraction that the passengers momentarily forgot that they were plummeting to their very death and a watery grave.
"That allowed us to do our jobs," said Moore, speaking for the flight crew that prepared for the emanate crash landing by emptying out the airplane's mini-bar unfettered by panicking passengers screaming and running up and down the aisles.
To everyone's delight, the Captain made a soft landing on the water with very little impact resulting in a few relatively minor injuries to the crew and passengers.
"You would have thought we landed right back at LaGuardia by the way the Captain was talking over the PA system after the crash," said a passenger. "Up until the he said he was taxiing the airplane over to a barge slip, mistaking it as the disembarkation gate."
"He almost made it too," said another passenger. "But the plane run out of inertia. I guess the water was a bit more choppy than he thought."
"I'm sorry ladies and gentlemen," calmly spoke the Captain over the plane's PA system. "It looks like we'll have to disembark right here. We seem to have run out of gas. Quick, everybody out of the plane so we can push it the rest of the way."
Once outside, while standing on one of the wings of the plane, Captain "Sully" seemed confused by the presence of all the water surrounding him. Removing his cap and scratching his head as he looked around, he spoke out to the passengers standing along side him in the frigid air.
"Boy," said the Captain to the shivering and dazed passengers on the airplane wing. "I guess this climate change is more serious than I thought. I don't see a boarding ramp around here or anywhere, do you?"