Today’s MOSTLY TRUE SHORT STORY: I Was There — The Miracle On The Hudson

Frank LoBuono
3 min readJan 15, 2024

F LoBuono

It was a day very much like today; a beautiful, clear and brutally cold January day with windchills hovering in the teens and single digits. I was working the 3p-11p shift as a cameraman/technician for CBS News at the Broadcast Center on W57th and 11th Ave. in Midtown.

My shift began as most usually did, i.e. pretty normally and without much fanfare. The 7a-3p crew leaves and the 3p-11p gang takes over. 24/7–365. I was actually scheduled to be working AT the Broadcast Center.

Well, that didn’t last long.

As I recall, around 4pm we start getting reports that a plane had just landed on the Hudson River AND it was IN THE WATER just down the street from the Broadcast Center. US Airways flight 1549 was down!

If you haven’t been in a newsroom when BIG news breaks you have no idea how quickly a routine day of mostly boredom can turn into a cacophony of sound and a flurry of action that can be most accurately described as the shit hitting the fan.

Since this was all happening right down the street, we didn’t even wait for our broadcast trucks to roll. We were told to get whatever you needed ASAP and GET THERE!

So, I grabbed my coat, my camera gear and tore ass, running down W57th St towards the last reported sighting of the plane: the NY Waterway Ferry Terminal just a few blocks south.

My instructions were to begin to cover the scene as best as possible and wait for a reporter to join me. We would then be joined by our broadcast trucks to begin LIVE reporting from the location.

Of course, we would not be alone as just about every news crew in town would eventually be there. But we were FIRST because we were closest.

Within a short time, I was joined by our reporter, Wendy Gillette. I remember that, since she was scheduled that evening to desk produce and not field report, how lightly dressed she was for the brutal cold. I took particular notice that she was wearing just lightweight shoes and women’s stockings. This would eventually prove problematic.

We stayed there as a team, working in the brutal cold for our entire 8 hour shift until we were eventually replaced by the night crew to continue the 24 hour coverage of this extraordinary story. I can’t recall many times were the cold was more punishing. It had gotten so frigid that we feared that Ms. Gillette’s feet were in danger of getting frostbite!

Being the consummate professional, she finished her shift without complaint and suffered no permanent damage.

But this is typical of virtually all of the journalists I worked with at CBS. Each one, including technicians, dedicate themselves to telling a full, truthful story, often at great peril and at the cost of one’s health and comfort.

There were many heroes from that day including the captain, crew, passengers and 1st responders who saved so many lives. But we often overlook the journalists of all skills who risk so much to do the job of making sure that their heroism is recognized.

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