Local man shares story of crashing into Hudson River

Man will be joined by family, friends to see 'Sully' in theaters this week

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A Julington Creek man who was one of the 155 people to survive an infamous emergency plane landing in New York's Hudson River in 2009 said he will be joined by about 70 people this week to see the movie based on the harrowing events.

The pilot of U.S. Airways Flight 1549, Capt. Chesley Sullenberger, became a national hero when he safely landed in the river after the plane struck a flock of geese.

The movie "Sully," based on the landing and its aftermath, comes out Thursday starring Tom Hanks.

"Everything was normal and about 90 seconds after takeoff, we hit the birds," Casey Jones said. "I'd flown hundreds of times prior to that. And there was a sound and a feeling I had never felt before on a plane."

Jones said the feeling was unexplainable.

"It was loud, and it was sudden, and we lost all of our acceleration as soon as the birds hit,” Jones said.

When the pilot made the announcement to brace for impact, Jones said the first thing he did was grab his phone.

"My wife and son, who was 8 at the time, were on another plane at the exact same time," Jones said. "I wanted to call them and leave the 'I love you' message. I didn't know how this was going to end up."

The plane dropped at three times the normal rate of descent, eventually hitting the water at 150 mph.

"Every time a plane hits, you always see fire. I was looking out the window as we descended, looking to see if there would be fire," Jones said. "Instead, it was just a wall of water that hit."

Jones said the sound of the impact was like being at Niagara Falls without earplugs.

As everyone escaped the plane after the water landing, Jones said he had a difficult choice to make, because he can't swim.

"There we are sitting in the middle of the Hudson. I got out onto the wing and looked in both directions. I could see there was people in the water. Do I get in or do I stay out?" Jones said. "I stayed on the wing and everything worked out just fine."

Jones, who will see “Sully" this week with family and friends, said watching the trailer for the first time was powerful.

"We missed the George Washington Bridge by about 600 feet," Jones said. "Seeing it actually on film and reliving it again, I guarantee there will be some emotion."