Committee hears 'Miracle on the Hudson' testimony

A veteran air traffic controller testified Tuesday that he thought everyone on US Airways Flight 1549 was doomed last month when it went down in the Hudson River.

"I believed at that moment I was going to be the last person to talk to anyone on that plane alive," controller Patrick Harten testified in his first public description of his reaction to the miracle landing.

"People don't survive landings on the Hudson River. I thought it was [the pilot?s] own death sentence," said the 10-year veteran controller in front of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee in Washington.

But US Airways pilot Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger managed to bring the jet and all its passengers to safety when he glided the aircraft onto the river flawlessly.

Sullenberger also testified before the aviation subcommittee, but used his time to spotlight the precarious situation he said the airline industry and its pilots find themselves in.

He said his pay has been cut 40 percent in recent years and his pension has been terminated. These cuts, he warns, could keep veteran pilots from sticking around.

"Without experienced pilots, we will see negative consequences to the flying public," Sullenberger testified.

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