Capt. Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, the pilot who landed a plane safely into the Hudson River, was asked on 60 Minutes tonight about whether or not he prayed when US Airways Flight 1549 had lost its engines.
Here’s Katie Couric talking with CNN’s Howard Kurtz about her interview with the pilot:
Couric:… In fact, at one point I said [to Sullenberger], “Did you pray at any moment?” And he said, “There were a lot of people in the cabin doing that for me. I had to fly the airplane.”
Kurtz: Right. You know, even in normal circumstances, I guess, to be a successful pilot, you have to be able to tune out just about every distraction and focus on the job at hand.
Couric: Yes. He said it took enormous concentration and focus to kind of remove those feelings of fear, and obviously he did what he needed to do to get the job done.
Asked if he at any point prayed, he told Couric, “I would imagine somebody in back was taking care of that for me while I was flying the airplane.”
“My focus at that point was so intensely on the landing,” he said. “I thought of nothing else.”
That’s not the same as saying he’s an atheist or anything. I don’t know what he believes.
But it’s an important point, I think. In a time of crisis, the man in charge didn’t stop to pray. He didn’t think about God.
He focused on what actions he could take. He eliminated any other “distractions” from his mind, including thoughts about God.
That’s what saved the passengers’ lives.