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God reveals the true reason for the LaGuardia plane crash

Everyone agrees that it was an amazing demonstration of pilot skill, combined with the rapid response of a large number of people, that allowed all 155 passengers and crew members of a U. S. Airways flight that hit a flock of birds to do a controlled crash into the Hudson River to survive and be rescued from the icy waters. Many are calling it a miracle, even though, more than anything else, it was the skill of a seasoned pilot that salvaged life from death.

So where was God in all this? Why did he allow the flight to hit a bunch of birds, which disabled both of its engines?

Apparently God doesn’t like pigeons:

My main motivation for causing this crash was in smiting pigeons, a creature created by the devil. As you likely don’t know, the crash was caused when the plane flew into a flock of 552 pigeons. I am glad to say that all 552 were beautifully killed and transformed into snarge.

Pigeons are filthy creatures, no more than flying rats really. They are also all smelly Muslim terrorists, which is why they spend their lives pooping on good Christian children. I swear to you that I am doing everything within My Powers to wipe out these vermin. Plane crashes, viruses, and wintertime are all methods I am using.

I knew there had to be a reason.

By Orac

Orac is the nom de blog of a humble surgeon/scientist who has an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent's posterior about his copious verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few probably will. That surgeon is otherwise known as David Gorski.

That this particular surgeon has chosen his nom de blog based on a rather cranky and arrogant computer shaped like a clear box of blinking lights that he originally encountered when he became a fan of a 35 year old British SF television show whose special effects were renowned for their BBC/Doctor Who-style low budget look, but whose stories nonetheless resulted in some of the best, most innovative science fiction ever televised, should tell you nearly all that you need to know about Orac. (That, and the length of the preceding sentence.)

DISCLAIMER:: The various written meanderings here are the opinions of Orac and Orac alone, written on his own time. They should never be construed as representing the opinions of any other person or entity, especially Orac's cancer center, department of surgery, medical school, or university. Also note that Orac is nonpartisan; he is more than willing to criticize the statements of anyone, regardless of of political leanings, if that anyone advocates pseudoscience or quackery. Finally, medical commentary is not to be construed in any way as medical advice.

To contact Orac: [email protected]

23 replies on “God reveals the true reason for the LaGuardia plane crash”

I thought it was a flock of geese they hit.

Everyone keeps talking about what a “miracle” it was that the passengers and crew survived. If it wasn’t for the proper training in how to deal with a water ditch, and that the pilot and crew followed all the right rules for this situation, some might have died. No “miracle” at all. It proves that having evacuation plans and sumulations ahead of time work.

I thought it was geese too. I’ve been waiting for the blame to shift northward when we hear it was a flock of Canada Geese… even more border tightening to follow….

Another reason for the “miracle” is that that model of plane is equipped with a ditching button that activates a system which seals as many air-filled compartments in the wings and fuselage as possible which further increased buoyancy and significantly slows the rate at which the plane sinks. I have also heard it reported that the plane hit 2 geese, not pigeons.

The safe ditching of the US Airways in the Hudson River would have been a “miracle” if the plane had been piloted by one of the passengers (ala the movie Airplane). As it was, a combination of piloting skill, quick thinking and a large helping of random chance allowed the crew to ditch the airliner without it cracking up.

It would have been a “miracle” if the airliner had been able to return to the airport and land without damage.

It would have been a “miracle” if the passengers had been able to walk to shore without getting their shoes wet.

This fortunate turn of events did not require any supernatural intervention. In fact, if this is a “miracle”, then god must be either pretty low-wattage or painfully shy.

Prometheus

I thought this was pretty funny Bob, and Stuff God Hates is consistently hilarious. I also think it’s funny that you misspelled ‘spare use his stupidity.’ It’s generally not good to come off as stupid when you’re calling someone else stupid.

It has been suggested to me that we Americans are so inured with mediocrity that we see any exceptional performance as being miraculous. The flight crew on that plane did an exceptional job dealing with a difficult and sudden emergency, and deserve credit. Another friend of mine reminded me of “The Surgeon’s Lament” : If the patient dies, it’s our fault. If the patient gets well, it’s God’s work”

Hmm. I’m still resonating with the CNN comparison of Chelsea Sullenberger, a seasoned and experienced pilot and safety consultant, with our soon-to-be President, who, in about 20 or 30 years, will potentially have equivalent experience, training and flight hours to perform feats that will be erroneously described as miracles.

I am surprised someone has not at least made the lesser claim (unless they have and I missed it) that the presence of such a qualified pilot on board was a miracle. I guess that is just not big enough. I was really impressed when I saw what he has been involved with on his companies website.

“Chesley B. “Sully” Sullenberger, III is a captain for a major U.S. airline with over 40 years of flying experience. A former U.S. Air Force (USAF) fighter pilot, he has served as an instructor and Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) safety chairman, accident investigator and national technical committee member. He has participated in several USAF and National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) accident investigations. His ALPA safety work led to the development of a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Advisory Circular. Working with National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) scientists, he coauthored a paper on error inducing contexts in aviation. He was instrumental in the development and implementation of the Crew Resource Management (CRM) course used at his airline and has taught the course to hundreds of his colleagues. Sully is a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy (B.S.), Purdue University (M.S.) and the University of Northern Colorado (M.A.). He was a speaker on two panels at the High Reliability Organizations (HRO) 2007 International Conference in Deauville, France May 29-31, 2007. He has just been named a Visiting Scholar at the University of California, Berkeley.”

He just seems rather uniquely qualified to have been in this situation. Literally the best person for the job.

Hey, this is big news for me. I may have to reconsider my atheism, because a god that hates pigeons is one I can really support. I wonder if squab is a sacrament in His church?

The miracle is that it actually worked! Yes, pilots are trained for this – but in most cases the attempted landing of a large jet airliner on water had met with disaster. I always smiled about the “your life vest is under your seat” instructions – until this case I didn’t know of any successful water landing of a commercial jet where the life vests were of any use. And strictly speaking they weren’t needed in this case either, if the reports of knee deep water are correct.

Hmm, I wonder what this means for Bert from Sesame Street. Maybe Sesame Street is an evil show that tries to brainwash kids into satanism and reading skills!

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