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Cameras flashed like a strobe light. The photographers fought each other for space, elbowing and pushing to get the best position, the best shot, all the time shouting and begging for their target to look at them.

“Over here!”

“This way!”

In the centre of the melee stood a rather bemused man. He tugged at his smart uniform jacket somewhat self-consciously as the bodyguards beside him pushed the crowd back. They made their way slowly towards the waiting car.

From in between the photographers, news reporters shoved and pushed their way in front of him. Microphones were thrust towards his face; questions were shouted.

“Daily Times, how does it feel to be a hero?”

“Evening Mail, do you have anything to tell our readers?”

A bodyguard interposed himself between them. “There will be a press conference tomorrow, you can ask your questions then!”

Finally, the car door shut against the reporters and photographers and the man settled into the back seat, blinking away the after effects of the camera flashes.

One of the bodyguards sat next to him, looking at him with professional concern. “Are you alright, sir?”

The man shook his head in wonder. “I did not expect that.”

The bodyguard laughed. “Well, sir, you did just land a plane on a river and save over a hundred and fifty people. In front of the world’s news cameras. You’re a hero!”

The pilot shook his head again. “No, son. I was just doing my job.”

© Kari Fay

(Author’s Note- This story was inspired by and based on US Airways Flight 1549 – the plane that landed on the Hudson River- and the seemingly unflappable pilot, Chesley Sullenberger.)

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