Air Force veteran shares story years after ‘Miracle on the Hudson’

In this Thursday Jan. 15, 2009 file photo, airline passengers wait to be rescued on the wings of a US Airways Airbus 320 jetliner that safely ditched in the frigid waters of the Hudson River in New York, after a flock of birds knocked out both its engines. The audio recordings of US Airways Flight 1549, released Thursday, Feb 5, 2009 by the Federal Aviation Administration, reflect the initial tension between tower controllers and the cockpit and then confusion about whether the passenger jet went into the river. (AP Photo/Steven Day) ** EDITORS NOTE RESTRICTIONS: TO USE THIS IMAGE IN AN EDITORIAL MAGAZINE, PLEASE CONTACT YOUR AP IMAGES LICENSING REPRESENTATIVE. SPECIAL RATES APPLY **

(WFLA) – There aren’t a whole lot of people who can say they’ve survived an airplane crash. Let alone, one landing in the frigid waters of the Hudson River.

News Channel 8 brings you an exclusive interview with a former Air Force veteran as he shares his story eight years later.

His message? Never take your life, your family or your happiness for granted.

The story begins in US Airways seat 15F. A window seat, where he looked out of the oval opening and saw flames.

“The fire went out fairly quickly and we could start to smell smoke,” said Larry Snodgrass.

For a man who flew pretty much weekly for his job as a salesman, he immediately knew he and the other 154 people on board were in immediate danger.

That’s when the plane began its downward decent.

To his right, a beautiful, blue sky.  To his left, nothing but a blur of buildings.

Then US Airways Captain, Sully Sullenberger’s voice broke the silence.

“This is your Captain. Brace for impact.”

Snodgrass says when he heard those words, he knew his life would be changed forever.

Snodgrass said a quick prayer then quickly sent a brief text to his wife.

“The engine is on fire,” he wrote.  “I love you with all my heart. Please tell the kids…I love them.”

He looked outside, saw the water below and pressed send.

The next thing Snodgrass said he remembers is the plane slamming into the frigid waters, losing power.

He expected to die.

But, within two to three minutes, he said he was standing on the right wing of the Airbus 320 in the middle of the Hudson River.

It was a terrifying scene splashed across millions of TVs as well as the internet, almost as unbelievable as it was frightening.

With an air temperature of nineteen degrees….he struggled to help save those who slid off into the water.

“I’m originally from Ohio, so I know cold – but nothing like this.”

Snodgrass said there weren’t just two pilots on board that day. He believes there were three.

“We had Captain ‘Sully,’ Mr. Jeff Skiles….and we had the man upstairs. It didn’t just happen by luck.”

Snodgrass had ten flights booked in the next few weeks after the “miracle on the Hudson” incident.

He said it wasn’t easy boarding those planes.

But, what does come easy for him these days is traveling the country, sharing his message of cherishing your family, humility, asking for help and doing your best to overcome any challenge you face in life. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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