As US Airways Flight 1549 crash landed into the icy Hudson River, Emma Sophina was struck by how “strangely calm” it was on board.
Shortly after takeoff from New York’s LaGuardia Airport on January 15, 2009, the Airbus A320 struck a flock of geese and lost all engine power. Unable to reach nearby airports in time, pilot Chesley Sullenberger glided the plane into the Hudson.
As the plane went down, gliding less than 300 metres above the George Washington Bridge, Sullenberger commanded over the cabin address system, “Brace for impact” and the flight attendants relayed the command to passengers.
When they reached the river the impact was so strong that Emma, 26 years old at the time and the only Australian on board, thought they'd hit a building.
She recalled how calm the passengers were and the "orderly chaos" of escaping the cabin. Of course, there were tears and panic, but for the most part, the 155 people on the plane remained composed as they shuffled their way outside, onto the aircraft's wings and into life rafts.
It was not until she'd safely made it out of the cabin that Emma began to freak out - but it wasn't because the enormity of what had just happened had sunken in. Not yet. Emma had realised that her passport was still inside the aircraft.
"I almost went back on the plane to get it. My first thought when I was in the raft was 'I'm an Australian citizen with no ID,'" she told the Adelaide Advertiser days after the crash.
"Honestly, that was the only time I think I started to panic."