Best of 2009

12 Most Shocking Moments of 2009

Michael Jackson's death, the Hudson River miracle crash, the Balloon Boy hoax and more of the year's jaw-dropping stories


It could have ended tragically. But when US Airways flight 1549 to Charlotte, N.C., made an emergency landing in the Hudson River off midtown Manhattan on Jan. 15, all 155 people aboard escaped alive. Credit goes to "hero pilot" Capt. Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger III for calmly gliding the plane into the water after geese knocked out both engines. "In hindsight," he told PEOPLE in February, "I think something remarkable did happen that day."