NEW YORK, NY – The pilot of a Boeing 757-300 plane remained completely calm during the harrowing experience when both engines failed on his plane shortly after takeoff. According to his co-pilot, the captain remarked, “I’ve seen the Sully movie, so I am not worried one bit.”
Jeff Bridger has been a United Airlines pilot for the better part of 25 years. The 54-year-old former Air Force pilot joined the company after spending 9 years flying tankers for the government. During all of his time in the air, he’d, of course, experienced his fair share of issues. But only one thing had prepared him for the events that occurred two weeks ago when his flight leaving New York’s LaGuardia Airport (LGA) lost both engines shortly after takeoff.
It was a normal day, like hundreds of others when his mostly-full passenger jet raced down the runway and into the skies. The LaGuardia Airport is notorious for bird strikes and immediately after takeoff, both engines experienced total failure after being struck by a flock of migrating geese.
With klaxons blaring, Bridger remained steely in his determination to master the situation and safely land the plane. Later, his co-pilot, Sid Ranger, remarked, “Jeff was in zone, man. He was laser-focused on the tasks at hand. In fact, he even said, listen, I literally just watched the Sully movie last night. That makes 19 times. I am not worried one bit.”
Armed with the confidence of a man on the precipice of becoming a vaunted hero, Bridger safely guided the plane into the Hudson River much like his own hero, Chesley Sullenberger.
As the plane hit the water it bounced and skidded, briefly tipping upwards before resting on its belly and beginning to sink into the murky waters of the cold river. He’d done it. He’d pulled a Sully. Passengers began to exit the plane into rafts.
The copilot turned to congratulate Bridger, but was shocked to find his seat empty. Although he’s successfully landed the plane, he’d forgotten to buckle his seat belt and was thrown through the front window of the plane on impact. He died almost immediately. No movie was made, although the incident is rumored to be featured on an upcoming episode of AMC’s Airplane Disasters.