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Obama calls hero pilot after Hudson River crash

Barack Obama has called hero pilot Chesley Sullenberger to praise him for a 'heroic' and "graceful" job in ditching his stricken airliner in the Hudson River with no loss of life.See pics.

world Updated: Jan 17, 2009 12:24 IST

President-elect Barack Obama has called hero pilot Chesley Sullenberger to praise him for a "heroic" and "graceful" job in ditching his stricken airliner in the Hudson River with no loss of life.

Obama, who will be sworn in as president on Tuesday, spoke to Sullenberger for five minutes, a day after all 150 passengers and five crew on US Airways flight 1549 escaped alive and were able to step out of the plane into rescue boats.

"The President-elect told Captain Sullenberger how proud everyone was for the heroic and graceful job he had done in landing the damaged aircraft yesterday," said Obama's spokesman Robert Gibbs yesterday.

"The President-elect also thanked his crew and the many people on the scene in New York for ensuring the safety of everyone on board the plane."

Obama called Sullenberger from Philadelphia, from where he will board a ceremonial train to Washington on Saturday to kick off four days of inaugural celebrations.

Tributes are flowing for Sullenberger, who earlier received a call from President George W Bush and was awarded the keys to New York City.