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Hudson Horror Brings Hope

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In January 2009, Dave Sanderson was one of the last passengers out of U.S. Air flight 1549 when it crash-landed in the Hudson River. Sanderson tells reporter Reed Galin how he came out of the icy water a changed man.

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SCRIPT:

(Locator: Charlotte, North Carolina)

Dave Sanderson, Plane Crash Survivor: “I get very emotional every time I watch this.”

It’s a year since Dave Sanderson looked out the window of his flight home to Charlotte and saw the engine in flames.

Dave Sanderson, Plane Crash Survivor: “Captain Sullenberger said those three words, ‘brace for impact.’ I felt I’ve got another, maybe a minute, 30 seconds of my life and I better get squared pretty quick!”

The “Miracle on the Hudson” everyone called it. That was not just a figure of speech for Sanderson. He was already a spiritual man who, with his wife and four children, was active in Providence United Methodist Church in Charlotte. But surviving flight 1549 focused his faith.

Dave Sanderson, Plane Crash Survivor: “Once we crashed and I looked up, there was light coming through the window right at me. That’s the moment where my mother, who’s my guardian angel I believe, started talking in my head saying, ‘Do the right thing and God will take care of you.’”

The Rev. Ken Carter, Providence United Methodist Church: “He feels like he was on that airplane for a reason. It reminds me of baptism. He went into the water and he came out of the water a different person.”

The media wanted to talk to him about the logistics of what had happened. But Sanderson wanted to talk about the meaning he saw in it.

Dave Sanderson, Plane Crash Survivor: “I’m a blessed person, along with 154 other people.”

He began speaking at churches, and for non-profits like the Red Cross.

Dave Sanderson, Plane Crash Survivor: “I’ve spoken 87 times since. When you have your mission, you don’t get tired.”

He travels the country doing this. On airplanes.

Dave Sanderson, Plane Crash Survivor: “I have to admit, when we start coming down I do hold on a little bit.”

“Brace for impact” has become the operating phrase in Sanderson’s life.

Dave Sanderson, Plane Crash Survivor: “I’ve chosen to take what has happened to me and hopefully share it with other people to hopefully impact somebody. Every time I speak, somebody comes up to me and tells me a story that relates to what I did, and how it’s helped them to either process or change their life. I think that’s the reason I do it.”

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Sanderson works full time and travels frequently as a sales manager for Oracle. He speaks to churches and civic groups whenever his schedule allows.

You can contact Dave Sanderson through his assistant, Tammy L. Phillips at 704-999-3865.

Posted: January 13, 2010