Stellazine has moved to

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Stephen Mallon and the Salvage of Flight 1549

I was sitting in the airport in January waiting to board my plane back to New York when I saw Flight 1549 in the Hudson River. I figured the odds of it happening again on the same day were nil, but the flight back was a bit unnerving, even as I sat and watched the news reports on the tiny television screen in front of me.

As amazing as the story was, and as OMG as that one photograph of all the people on the plane’s wings was, little did I realize the story wasn’t over.

It wasn’t until I saw these photographs that I realized another amazing story was unfolding. Actually a continuation of the original story had surfaced. Stephen Mallon was allowed to photograph the salvage of the USAirways plane from the water, and amassed an incredible, beautiful document of the recovery.

You could have gone to Stephen’s website to view the photographs until he received a cease and desist letter from the insurance company AIG. Remember them? They’re the company that ran our economy into the ground and have received billions upon billions of our dollars to keep them afloat. What does AIG have to do with all of this? Well, they are USAirway’s insurance company and don’t want anyone to ever see Stephen Mallon’s photographs.

I say fuck them! What right do they have to permanently embargo this work? Stephen was not in their employ, nor in the employ of the airline. He was working with the crane company, and no one objected to his work at all. In fact, the NTSB wanted his photos of the salvage. That is until AIG’s lawyers stepped in.

Stephen is hoping to negotiate with AIG, but no luck so far.

We all have a right to see these photographs as they document an important, very public event. And Stephen Mallon has the right to show his work as he sees fit. This is a free speech issue in my eyes, and it’s another example of AIG showing their total disregard for the people of this country. Stephen Mallon’s photos are a thing of beauty, and show not only the fragility of such large machines, but the truly heroic work done by those who pulled it out of the icy Hudson.

Americans got a chance to honor the wonderful crew, the rescue tugboats and tour boats who were first responders, and the rescues workers of New York City. Why not the recovery workers? Don’t they deserve our recognition of a difficult job well done?

Why is AIG trying to hide this? I invite all of you to ask that question of them as well.

if you wish to voice your opinion to USAirways or AIG- their contact info is here:

USAirways customer relations:

media contact is 480 693 5909 or

AIG aviation can be reached at or on their home page here

Labels: , , , , Digg it Facebook MySpace Slashdot Technorati Stumbleupon Twitter