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National Press Club

Club Member Witnesses Plane's Crash Landing

January 15, 2009

NPC member Joe Enoch (2008 recipient of the Berny Krug Award for his work as co-chairman of the Events Committee) now works for Inside Edition in New York. Here are excerpts from an email he sent yesterday:

I saw that plane descend from my office and ended up shooting footage of survivors on the plane's wing in the Hudson and later being carted off in stretchers.

I was on the phone with my boss, Bob Read, when he went silent mid-sentence. A few seconds later he asked, "Do you see that plane?" I rush to the window when it comes into view. It was surreal. From my 13th floor vantage point, it was hard to get a good perspective on how low the plane was, but I knew it wasn't right because it was descending right in the middle of the river -- maybe 50 feet above the ground.

Unfortunately, it glided behind a skyscaper. I held my breath waiting for it to come out the other side. When it didn't, I ran down the hall, screamed at the camera men to grab their cameras and press them against all the windows on the south side of the newsroom. I then grabbed my own camera, without even grabbing my coat, and sprinted as hard as possible to the river and surprisingly got a good vantage point from a pier. As I ran to my vantage point, common sense was telling me no one could survive in that river and that I was rushing to record certain death. Despite the sun glare, I could make out people on the wings and helicopters touching down to pluck people from the river.

As the accident site drifted down the river out of my sight, I needed to get to the scene where they were bringing in the survivors. I met up with a private investigator who I interviewed for his story on how he saw the accident -- including the splash -- and using his credentials, we got past the police line and I was able to capture some cliche shots of survivors on stretchers.

I know everyone is saying this, but with windchill, there's no way it was above 10 degrees. I kept thinking to myself how terrible it would be to drown in 34 degree water. Such a miracle no one died.