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Last Updated: Friday January 16 2009 12:07 GMT

Who is the 'Hero of the Hudson'?

Captain Chesley Sullenberger (AP Photo/Safety Reliability Methods)

The pilot of an American plane that crash-landed in New York's Hudson River is being called a hero after all 155 passengers and crew survived.

Captain Chesley Sullenberger's quick-thinking when the plane's engines failed, saved the lives of everyone on board, earning him the nickname Hero of the Hudson.

After landing on the water, he even stayed behind to walk through the plane and make sure no-one was still on board before he left.

And he amazed rescue crews at the scene by being so relaxed about what had happened.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg praised the pilot's "masterful landing", calling it a "miracle on the Hudson".

In pictures
The US Airways plane in the Hudson River
But who is Captain Sullenberg?

The 57-year-old, who's also known as Sully, has more than 40 years of flying experience.

He was a fighter pilot in the US Air Force and has also been an instructor and accident investigator.

What happened?

Less than a minute after his flight left LaGuardia airport for North Carolina, Captain Sullenberger told air controllers both the plane's engines had been broken by a flock of birds.

Passengers wait on the wings

He had just moments to decided what to do, before guiding the plane onto the water.

It was a dramatic landing that's made headlines all over the world, but when the cool-headed Captain rang his wife to tell her about it he simply said, 'there's been an accident'."

Lorrie Sullenberger said: "At first I thought it was something minor, but then he told me the circumstances and my body started shaking."

Lucky escape

One of the couple's neighbours, Candace Andersen, said the passengers had been lucky Captain Sullenberger was in charge.

"You look at his training, you look at his experience," she said. "It was the right pilot at the right time in charge of that plane that saved so many lives."