US Airways Flight 1549 skidded to a stop on the Hudson River and then sank to the bottom.

Nobody died in the crash and the survivors are starting to get their drowned belongings back:

The reunions have been occurring, one by one, for the last couple of weeks. The doorbell rings and an unfamiliar face presents boxes filled with personal belongings. Many of them are ruined, but all are carefully wrapped in tissue paper and snuggled in sheets of fabric softener, as though their owners had died.

But their owners, the 150 passengers who rode US Airways Flight 1549 into the Hudson River four months ago, are, of course, very much alive, and for each of them, it seems, there has been at least one item that matters far beyond its material value and is worth the unsettling memories its return arouses.

Lori Lightner’s strongest attachment was to her favorite pair of jeans. For Tracey Wolsko, it was the Our Lady of Lourdes medallion her husband had bought for her at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Carl Bazarian was happiest about recovering a set of car keys with the remote button to unlock the doors.

We love the amazing recovery of belongings and memories rescued from the bottom of the Hudson River and we realize how strange it must be to have delivered what was otherwise thought lost forever. 

We are reminded of our mortality in the morality of our mementos.


  1. Whenever I go anywhere by plane, I always have the bears situated in such a way that I can easily stash them and go in case of an emergency like that one. I wouldn’t want to risk leaving them to be rescued.

  2. Isn’t it profound how we have become so attached and sentimental about our belongings?
    Yet, there is a bit of irony in this because it is the belongings of the passengers of Flight 1549 being retrieved from the depths of the Hudson River rather than the passengers cold corpses instead. I mean no disrespect in that statement. I imagine, without a doubt, that everyone would rather have the knock at the door be an announcement of “We found some of your belongings.” as opposed to “We found your family member’s body.” I know that I sure would!
    Just maybe we have become too attached and sentimental towards the wrong things. The tangible items can most often be replaced but the very existence of someone, once snuffed out, can NEVER be replaced.

  3. Yes, Kimberley, it was a good thing the only things at the bottom of the river were things and not people. I wonder if people had a choice between saving their wallet/purse or their laptop — which would they choose? Identity and belonging or the power to create a personal space in an expanding virtual world?

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