Chicopee 'Miracle on the Hudson' survivors mark anniversary - CBS 3 Springfield - WSHM

Chicopee 'Miracle on the Hudson' survivors mark anniversary

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On Jan. 15, 2009, Flight 1549 crashed into the Hudson River in New York.

You can say the time has flown by for a certain group of friends from Chicopee who are survivors of that crash.

Five years ago, Jorge Merado, David Carlos, Jim Stefanik and Jeff Kolodjay, along with two other friends, planned a golfing a trip to North Carolina.

Their original flight got canceled. Carlos said the group was worried they wouldn't make it to their trip on time. 

But in the last minutes, they were able to book the last six seats on Flight 1549.

They joked how they thought they were in luck until just minutes after takeoff, a flock of geese flew into the craft's engines.

"'Brace for impact' came over, and there was smoke in the cabin," said Merado. 

The plane began descending down towards the river.

"I was thinking, 'How am I going to survive?' and 'What's going to happen next?'" said Carlos.

"The fact that my wife was pregnant with our first child at the time kept replaying in my mind," said Kolodjay.

Amazingly, the airbus landed intact, with all 155 souls on board alive.

"I just thought, 'Holy cow, we're alive'," said Merado. 

The images of the passengers and crew members standing on the wings of the airplane floating in the frigid waters became the icon of what is now known as the "Miracle on the Hudson."

It's a miracle these guys said changed their lives forever.

"You're definitely grateful for your family and friends, and every day that comes," said Stefanik.

Although it has been five years, Kolodjay said the memories will always be fresh in his mind.

"I've probably flown about 150 times since then, and I always check to make sure it doesn't correlate with 1549," he explained.

On Wednesday night, the four friends gathered at the The Munich Haus and raised a glass to mark the day that created a bond in their friendship that will last a lifetime.

"I take the day as a blessing. It could've gone a lot worse, obviously. I think we're all fortunate. They're a great group of people, and I'm proud to have them as my friends," said Kolodjay.

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