HARMONY TOWNSHIP (KDKA) — The new movie “Sully” is now in theaters.
It’s about Captain Chelsey Sullenberger, the US Airways pilot who was forced to land a plane on the Hudson River after striking a flock of geese.
Doreen Welsh, from Harmony Township, Beaver County, lived through what’s called the “Miracle on the Hudson.” She was a flight attendant on the plane.
“Two feet behind me, the whole airplane was ripped up,” said Welsh. “That’s where all the water came in.”
Fortunately, all 155 people on board survived, and as for film, Welsh gives it high marks on many counts.
“I think the crash scenes and the dream sequences were pretty powerful. They used the exact type of aircraft, and sometimes they don’t do that. They had all the details down,” said Welsh.
Actress Molly Hagan plays Welsh, who says it’s an odd feeling to be portrayed in a film.
“It’s still really, really strange,” she says.
She says she and Hagen hit it off when they finally met.
She also says the flight attendants really did chant instructions as the plane went down, as it’s portrayed in the film. They shout in the movie: “Brace, brace, brace. Heads down!”
Welsh admits some of the movie got to her emotionally.
“It was difficult,” she says. “The actual crash part was very difficult.”
But she says not everything else in the film is exactly spot on. For instance, she says, “The NTSB hearings, I think they made a little harsher, way harsher than they were in real life.”
“This is a Hollywood drama, not a documentary,” said Welsh.
She and her fellow crew members got a little taste of Hollywood when they attended the film’s premiere in New York. She even got a selfie with Tom Hanks.
“Tom Hanks was walking toward us, and he pointed his finger at me and said, ‘Doreen,’ and I thought, Tom Hanks knows my name,” said Welsh with a chuckle.
She thinks his portrayal of Sully is phenomenal.
“Tom Hanks is, I think, the best actor ever, so he made the movie in my eyes,” she said.
And she says overall, the film captures an event that’s changed her life.
“I think basically they did a pretty good job,” she said.
Welsh is no longer a flight attendant. In fact, she’s become a public speaker, who talks about what happened that day.
She also believes she has post-traumatic stress disorder from what she went through. But she says giving the speeches and talking about the experience is in definitely therapeutic.