7 Feb 2009

Hudson pilot talks of 'disbelief'

10:08 am on 7 February 2009

The captain of an Airbus A320 plane which made an emergency landing in the Hudson River in New York last month has given his first interview about the incident.

Captain Chesley Sullenberger told the 60 Minutes programme on CBS of a "sickening" feeling when he realised something was wrong.

He said his initial reaction was one of disbelief.

Captain Sullenberger was hailed as a hero after ditching the plane safely. All 155 people onboard survived.

Investigators have now confirmed that birds collided with both of the engines of Flight 1549 shortly before it ditched, on 16 January.

The authorities released a recording of communications between air traffic controllers and the pilot this week.

Captain Sullenberger is heard calmly telling controllers the aircraft has been struck by birds. Asked if he was able to return to the airport, he answered: "Unable."

In the last of his messages, he said: "We're gonna be in the Hudson."