Cutchogue survivor: 'I thought I was going to drown'

? Bill Zuhoski, of Cutchogue, told reporters that he didn?t expect to make it off Flight 1549 following its crash in the Hudson River Thursday. Wrapped in a blanket in front of a throng of reporters,

News 12 Staff

Jan 17, 2009, 12:21 AM

Updated 5,668 days ago

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? Bill Zuhoski, of Cutchogue, told reporters that he didn?t expect to make it off Flight 1549 following its crash in the Hudson River Thursday.
Wrapped in a blanket in front of a throng of reporters, Zuhoski recounted the terrifying moments. He says he had fallen asleep and was awoken by a sudden jolt. The plane started to slowly go down, Zuhoski says. The pilot, Chesley Sullenberger, turned the plane around and addressed the passengers.
"You heard him say ?brace yourself for impact,?? Zuhoski says. ?I thought those were the last four words I was ever going to hear."
The 23-year-old says the impact forced him to hit his head and threw his glasses off his face.
?I was sitting towards the back, people rushed towards the back thinking that?s where the emergency exits were,? Zuhoski says. ?And as the plane got heavier, the water started to come up and it started to get close to my neck under water??
It is at that point, Zuhoski says, that he thought his life was over.
?And you know, I thought I was going to drown right there in the back of the plane.?
But he didn?t.
Zuhoski says he ended up sitting next to Sullenberger in the raft and thanked him.
"There are 150 people on that plane that owe their lives to him,? Zuhoski says. ?I don't know if there are many pilots in the world that could have done what he did and react as quickly as he did."
In what Gov. David Paterson has called the ?Miracle on the Hudson,? all 155 aboard the flight survived. Some were taken to hospitals with hypothermia and minor injuries, but everyone made it out of the plane. Survivors wrapped in blankets were taken to the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Queens to spend the night.
Joe Hart, of Massapequa, was another Long Islander who survived the crash. He says he found some friends for life on that flight. Hours after the crash, Hart boarded a flight to Charlotte.
For extended coverage of the Hudson River plane crash, go to News 12 Interactive, channel 612 on your iO digital cable box.
Accounts of crash emerge in aftermath
Investigatorsbegin probe of Hudson River plane crash


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