NEW YORK, N.Y. (WIVB) - A 22-year-old helicopter pilot who successfully landed his craft on the Hudson River, saving four lives as well as his own, is a Buffalo native.
Michael Campbell says what happened this past Sunday still seems surreal. He was flying a tour helicopter around New York City for a Swedish family of four when they heard a loud boom, followed by warning horns in the cockpit.
Campbell warned his passengers the chopper was going down and to stay calm.
"They held themselves together. Nobody screamed. They let me do what I needed to do," he recalled.
The young pilot successfully landed the helicopter in the river after deploying the craft's pontoons, which kept it upright and afloat. A boater and his son then brought the Swedish family and Campbell to shore.
The incident has now been coined the "Mini-Miracle on the Hudson," a reference to the "Miracle on the Hudson" in 2009 when Capt. Chesley Sullenberger crash landed U.S. Airways Flight 1549 on the same body of water.
Campbell says the family was very grateful and were given their money back. He's been back in the air since then and says, "What I've learned is life is short, you know? It could have turned out...there could have been a different outcome. So that's why I don't hold grudges. I'm not a bitter person. You can't take [life] for granted. Just go out and do what you love."
He does not consider himself a hero. Campbell made it a point to say the real heroes are the men and women who fight for our freedom.
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