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EPZ member captures the aftermath of the miracle on the Hudson

The day the plane came down in the Hudson River will be talked about for a long time to come and EPZ member Ty Chee was there to capture all the action.

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Flight 1549 New York When the plane crashed down in the Hudson River on the 15th January citizen journalism, particularly photo-journalism came into it's own with many pedestrians stopping to take a snap of the plane and one EPZ member was there right in the middle of it all.

Ty Chee who's an IT Supervisor was at work at his downtown office in New York city when he heard that a plane had gone down in the Midtown area. Due to the sun going down and police activity he couldn't get anywhere near the scene but the next morning, on his way to work, he heard on the radio that the plane had drifted down river to Battery Park City, just three blocks from where he works.

"During my lunch hour, I went to have a look. The plane was almost completely submerged. The right wing of the Airbus 320 was underwater and fuselage was mostly submerged parallel to the wall. The only thing visible was the left wing of the aircraft, it was a pretty strange to see. That night on the news, I heard that they were planning on raising the plane from the water the next morning, so I made a mental note to try and make it there."

When Ty woke up on Saturday morning he turned on the TV and the news reported that the plane now filled with water and fuel weighed 1 million pounds (453,592.4kg). It would have to be lifted out of the river very slowly using the largest floating crane from a local shipyard, before it could be placed on a barge to be towed to a then secret location. With this knowledge and even though it was snowing Ty got in his car and drove back to the city.

Flight 1549 "There were lots of curious onlookers all snapping pictures with their camera phones. I even saw this one lady with this big blue Fisher Price "Kid-Tough" digital camera - I guess she borrowed it from her kid! Various forms of the news media were there and I stopped to ask some of them if they had heard when the plane would be taken out of the water. They all told me that everything was very hush-hush and that they all knew they would be playing the waiting game all day. (As it turned out, the plane was not removed from the water until way after dark.) I walked around the scene trying to find an unobstructed view, but there was none to be found."

Even though it continued to snow and a series of trees, light poles, fences and not to mention many emergency and recovery vehicles were hindering Ty's view he continued to take pictures. He did it mainly for his own interest and records but as the morning went on people began to hand him business cards and ask him for his pictures which motivated him to take more shots.

"I was snapping away when a man approached me, and what he said took me completely off guard."

 The gentleman who approached Ty was Mr Stevenson, an actual survivor off Flight 1549. He stood with Ty a while chatting and answering questions about his experience before having his picture taken and moving on.

Survivor" I really was inspired to create a record of the day for him. Talking to Mr Stevenson that morning was an eye opening experience for me. You could see the happiness in his eyes that he had survived an event that could have had a tragic ending. A pilot once told me that any crash you could walk away from was a good one. In talking to him I got the feeling that he had the vision that they were going to be ok. So many things went right that afternoon on the Hudson. The pilot, Chesley B. "Sully'' Sullenberger, has to be credited with making the most out of a bad situation. His training and years of experience had a lot to do with the fact that everyone made it out with their lives. I felt honoured to be standing there speaking with Mr Stevenson that day."

Ty has posted the images he took with his Nikon D300 on EPZ alongside the conversation he had with the survivor Mr Stevenson.

"Where else would I go to share my experience? I have been an EPZ member since January of 2005. I remember I stumbled upon the site by accident one day. I probably spent months looking around on the site before I got the nerve to finally join and upload something. I have learned so much from everyone in the EPZ community and I have developed some great relationships here."

Even though he was given several cards and chatted to several news network photographers he didn't send his work to any news stations or papers but hopes the insight the professional photographers gave him will help him be more prepared next time he needs to put his citizen,  photo-journalist hat on.

See Ty's portfolio for more pictures.

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digipix76 13 577 England
27 Jan 2009 4:48PM
Excellent work Ty Smile


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