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Miracle Landing on the Hudson Facts

REENACTMENT: Vallie Collins is trapped in the deepest water at the back of the plane.

REENACTMENT: Vallie Collins is trapped in the deepest water at the back of the plane. (View larger version)

Photograph by National Geographic Channels

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  • The Hudson River begins in Lake Tear of the Clouds on the southwest side of Mount Marcy, New York's highest peak. The Hudson River is 315 miles long. The deepest point is World's End near West Point which is 216 feet deep. Its widest point is at Haverstraw where it is three and one half miles wide.

  • In 1609, Henry Hudson, an Englishman sailing for Holland's East India Company, captained a Dutch ship up this river in search of the fabled Northwest Passage. He referred to the river as the "Manhatees." Dutch colonists who followed named it "River of the Prince Mauritius" and "North River." Hudson's name wasn't applied until 1664, as England tried to justify its takeover of the region. The English argued that since the explorer was a subject of England's king, Hudson's river belonged to them, not to the Dutch.

  • More than 200 species of fish are found in the Hudson and its tributaries.

  • Bald eagles, herons, waterfowl, and other birds feed from the river's bounty. Tidal marshes, mudflats, and other significant habitats in and along the estuary support a great diversity of life.

  • The Atlantic Sturgeon is the largest fish in the Hudson River.

  • In 2011, the population of New York City was 8.245 million.

  • Birds fly into airplanes every day, and most do so without causing major damage.

  • But bird strikes can be deadly, with more than 200 people killed since 1988 because of airborn collisions with birds, according to Ostrom's committee.

  • The ubiquitous Canada goose is one of the best known birds in North America. It is found in every contiguous U.S. state and Canadian province at one time of the year or another.

  • When the birds do migrate, they form impressive and aerodynamic "V-formations." They can cover 1,500 miles (2,400 kilometers) in just 24 hours with a favorable wind, but typically travel at a much more leisurely rate.

  • 40% of people experience some level of anxiety about flying.

  • Worldwide, there were 373 fatalities on 18 scheduled passenger flights in 2011 - with over 30 million commercial flights operated that year.

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