CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- They lived through a miracle and now they’re watching it play out on the big screen; the passengers of the 'Miracle on the Hudson' say it is a surreal experience.
They were on the Charlotte-bound flight that made an emergency landing on the Hudson river in New York City.
NBC Charlotte talked to them and get a close look at photos you’ve probably never seen, taken from one of the passengers as he stood on the wing of the plane in the water.
They call each other crash buddies, once strangers, now family-- both passengers and survivors of the 'Miracle on the Hudson', who all call Sully a hero.
“He saved all of us and all our families.”
They were nervous to see the new Clint Eastwood-Tom Hanks movie named for the hero captain.
“There were a couple of times in the movie I jumped out of my seat,” Laurie Crane says.
Michael Leonard said, “I found my heart pounding and a little anxiety, but it was also therapeutic in a way and gives closure to see what happened in the front of the aircraft.”
The passengers say for the most part the movie got it right, but they also say but you don’t quite see just how dramatic it was in the back of the plane.
“The commotion, chaos in the back of the plane seemed not nearly as intense,” Michael says.
Michael had to pull people out of the water.
Laurie almost froze when she slipped into the water. Still, Michael says he also remembers a moment of calm when he actually took out his phone and snapped several rarely-seen photos.
“To me, just standing on the wing was actually very peaceful, and then I realized people are panicking and people are in freezing water and I better do something to help out," Michael recalled.
That’s the part they say you don’t see much of in the movie. Still, they are fans.
Laurie says, “We stood at the end gave a standing ovation for like 10 minutes.”
And both say, understandably, the experience changed their lives.
“It’s one of the best things that ever happened-- gave me perspective."
“And now I thank God every night. I sit out and go over every night and go over every miracle I experience every day, whether birds or my dog playing-- anything is just a joy now."
It was one big, life-saving, life-affirming miracle that’s helped these passengers see the everyday miracles.
“Today, I’m a much better person, and I'm happier than I've ever been.”
Michael was actually going Friday to see the movie for a second time. If you’d like to see the actual plane, it’s on display at the Carolina Aviation Museum near the airport.
Bring your Sully Movie Ticket Stub in for $2 off admission to Carolinas Aviation Museum-- home of the actual Miracle on the Hudson "Sully" plane.
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