Sully Reveals Secret Pain: His Father's Suicide

Miracle on Hudson pilot pens emotional memoir

Capt. Chesley Sully Sullenberger made it his life's mission to protect lives because he couldn't save his father from suicide, according to the hero pilot's blockbuster new book.

"One of the reasons I think I've placed such a high value on life is that my father took his," Sullenberger reveals in the memoir, a copy of which the New York Daily News obtained ahead of the tome's October release.

Sullenberger reveals that his father, a dentist from Texas, battled depression and shot himself in 1995 at age 78 in the book "Highest Duty: My Search for What Really Matters."

"I'm willing to work very hard to protect people's lives, to be a good Samaritan, and to not be a bystander, in part, because I couldn't save my father," Sullenberger wrote.

The captain who managed to land US Airways Flight 1549 on the Hudson River minutes after takeoff detailed his childhood in Texas leading up to the moments before the Miracle on the Hudson -- and revealed he was so plagued by money woes before the crash he feared he would lose his family's California home.

In the book, Sullenberger said had a sense of duty instilled from an early age. He recalled hearing the story of a Kitty Genovese, a New Yorker slain in the streets of Queens as passers by ignored her calls for help, and vowed at age 13 never to be so callous.   

It wasn't until January, when New Yorkers rushed to aid his downed passengers that Sullenberger said it felt like all of the city "was reaching out to warm us."

In the book, the miracle pilot also heaps praise on his co-pilot, his crew and the air-traffic controller who kept trying to save the plane even after he thought it had crashed, the News reported.

Sullenberger also recalls learning to fly on a crop duster and working as a church janitor to save money for flight lessons.

The memories all lead up to that crisp day in January when Flight 1549 hit a flock of geese, which knocked out both engines and required Sullenberger's remarkable split-second decision making and precision landing.  

"We need to try to do the right thing every time, to perform at our best, because we never know which moment in our lives we'll be judged on," he writes.

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