RIVER VIEW OBSERVER EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW…
Author Dave Sanderson’s MOMENTS MATTER gives Insightful Life Lessons
By Sally Deering
Miracle on the Hudson Survivor…
When Dave Sanderson took US Airways Flight 1549 at LaGuardia Airport seven years ago, little did he know he would experience something so unbelievable, it would change his life forever. Sanderson was a passenger on that fateful flight that crash-landed in the Hudson River minutes after take-off. Here in Hudson, until it was removed, the sight of the abandoned plane floating on the river served as a reminder that life can take a harrowing turn in an instant.
On Tues, Jan. 19, from 6-to-9 pm at the Palisades Medical Center in North Bergen, Sanderson will be the hospital’s special guest, debuting his new book MOMENTS MATTER, a detailed account of how he survived this close encounter with death. Sanderson, who wrote the book with Cindy Wrightson, shares his personal story with an inspirational message that focuses on positive thinking and finding one’s purpose.
The book signing at the medical center coincides with the 7-year anniversary of the plane’s Hudson River landing which happened on Jan. 15, 2009. US Airways Flight 1549 piloted by Captain Chesley B. “Sully” Sullenberger and First Officer Jeffrey Skiles, made an emergency water landing in the Hudson after birds hit both sides of the plane at once causing both engines to go out at the same time. Captain Sullenberger and First Officer Skiles brought all 155 passengers and crew to safety. The landing became known as “Miracle on the Hudson”, and Captain Sullenberger has since been revered as a hero who saved 155 lives.
At Sanderson’s book signing, attendees can purchase MOMENTS MATTER for a $20 donation to the Palisades Medical Center Foundation. They will also get a peek at the trailer of the film MIRACLE ON THE HUDSON starring Tom Hanks and directed by Clint Eastwood.
A MORNING LIKE NO OTHER
In Sanderson’s book, he tells how it all began that fateful day at LaGuardia airport. He was heading back home after a three-day business trip that took him to Florida and West Virginia and ended in Brooklyn. When his flight was delayed because of cold weather. Sanderson got bumped to Flight 1549.
“I wasn’t supposed to be on that plane,” Sanderson says. “We flew out of LaGuardia. It was 60-or-70 seconds after we took off that the birds struck. I was in Seat 15A. I saw fire coming out of the left wing. I thought the plane lost an engine. It was so unique that it happened on both sides of the plane at the same time. It was one loud explosion.”
When it happened, the passengers stayed relatively calm, Sanderson says, because the passenger make-up was primarily business people who are frequent flyers.
“Like myself, they know that planes can fly on one engine,” Sanderson says. “It was so ironic that both engines went out at the same time. So many unique things happened on that plane.”
After Captain Sullenberger and First Officer Skiles landed the plane in the water, Sanderson helped passengers disembark until he was the last passenger off the plane,
“I was inside the plane, waist deep in 60 degree water,” Sanderson says. “I swam and got to the ferry. When I got to the triage in Weehawken, my blood pressure was extremely high, 190 over 120.”
He was rushed by ambulance to Palisades Medical Center in North Bergen.
“There were so many people waiting to help me,” Sanderson says. “People in New Jersey get a bad rap, but when stuff hits the fan… When I got there, when they got me to the bed, there were 8-to-10 people working on me. Nurse Zoraida Bautista, she was my guardian angel. Since then, I became very close to the nursing staff and public relations people. I have great passion for the folks at Palisades Medical Center.”
In the years since the plane crash, Sanderson struck out on his own.
“Now I speak and do workshops all over the world,” Sanderson says.” That’s what this book is about.”
The book came about, Sanderson says, in August of 2014 when he and his former assistant were talking about how the plane crash changed Sanderson’s life. His assistant brought up the point that Sanderson never documented his experience.
“We spent nine hours on audio tape, and we identified 12 resources or themes that contributed to the outcome of that flight,” Sanderson says. “Themes like how to manage your mind through a crisis; how to focus. I identified 12 resources or skill sets and how you can use them in your everyday life and in business.”
CLINT EASTWOOD DIRECTS MIRACLE FILM
At the book signing, a clip of the movie MIRACLE ON THE HUDSON starring Tom Hanks and directed by Clint Eastwood will be shown. Sanderson and 20 or so other passengers were asked to be in the movie They shot five scenes and the film is set for a Sept. 8 release.
“I’m honored,” Sanderson says. “I got a one one-on-one with Clint Eastwood. He is very cool and still kicking at 85. Only does one take; so you better get it right.”
The US Airways plane landing in the Hudson may have left emotional scars on the passengers that day, but it also brought new light into Sanderson’s life, he says. He has since changed his priorities, especially when it comes to balancing work and family.
“The biggest takeaway is how I prioritize my time,” Sanderson says. “I was driven to make as much money as I could. I was in sales, a top producer, and I was gone a lot. After all this settled down, I realized my kids wanted me to be around for them. I was missing so many of my oldest daughter’s activities. I realized I lost all that time and I can’t get it back. Now I prioritize everything around my family; they come first.”
In his book, Sanderson talks about the life lessons he’s learned since the Hudson River landing, especially one that’s very important to him.
“When you have 50 seconds before crashing into the Hudson, you see your whole life,” Sanderson says. “You think about your family, not business. Business doesn’t mean much at all.”
If you go
Tues, Jan. 19, 6-9 pm
Palisades Medical Center
7600 River Road, North Bergen
To RSVP or for more info: (201) 854-5008
Featured photo: Jan. 15, 2009: Us Airways Flight 1549 Lands in Hudson River