Former US Airways pilot Chesley Sullenberger’s life – along with the lives of his 155 passengers and crew – was forever changed over the course of 208 seconds one chilly January morning in 2009.
“January 15, 2009, was like 10,000 other days until 100 seconds after takeoff we encountered a large flock of Canada geese,” Sullenberger tells PEOPLE in an exclusive video interview detailing the moment-by-moment chain of events that transformed him into a hero after his aptly named “miracle on the Hudson” emergency landing.
The now-retired commercial pilot, whose story is retold in the upcoming movie Sully, directed by Clint Eastwood and starring Tom Hanks, insists that he didn’t think he “was going to die that day,” despite never having trained for such a catastrophic scenario that involved the loss of both his engines.
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“Even though we’d never trained for this,” Sullenberger, 65, explains in an interview in this week’s issue of PEOPLE, “I was confident that, based on my education, my training and my experience, in my judgment I could find a way to solve all these problems one at a time until we finally solved them all.”