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“Miracle on the Hudson” co-pilot to share safety insights at OPITO Global event in KL

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Oilfield Technology,

The co-pilot who helped safely land a stricken passenger flight on New York’s Hudson River with 155 people on board, will outline how mandatory safety training and teamwork saved lives, during a keynote address at this year’s OPITO Global – The Safety & Competence Conference. The energy industry event is being held at the InterContinental hotel in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, from 7th November.

In line with this year’s theme ‘Skilled for Safety’, Jeff Skiles, who continues to work as an airline pilot nine years after the incident, will deliver his presentation at the revamped OPITO Global event. It is the only international conference focused on debating the issues around safety and competency in the energy sector. It brings together industry leaders, government bodies, regulators and training providers to share new thinking and best practice.

In 2009, US Airways First Officer, Jeff Skiles, and Captain Chesley ‘Sully’ Sullenberger, reacted instantaneously when their Airbus A320 flew through a flock of geese shortly after take-off causing a complete loss of power at only 3200 ft.

Their actions during the unpowered ditching averted what could have been a tragic disaster. Within hours of the incident, it was being reported in the media as the “Miracle on the Hudson”, and a Hollywood movie followed starring Tom Hanks and Aaron Eckhart. 

Skiles said that without the airline’s highly developed safety management system and mandatory training practices, events that day would have turned out very differently. “It’s absolutely critical to be trained to the same standards and procedures when facing a time-critical emergency. Common procedures and training allow a team of experts, to coalesce and operate as an expert team.

“Common safety standards and operating procedures for those operating in safety critical roles is vital. Sully and I had both worked at US Airways for decades but had never flown together before that trip. However, we were practised in our airline’s standard operating procedures and knew how to work as a team. Ultimately this strongly contributed to saving all 155 lives on board that flight.”

OPITO CEO, John McDonald, said: “We are honoured to have Jeff Skiles joining us in Kuala Lumpur for this year’s annual OPITO Global – Safety & Competence event. To hear first-hand about his heroic experiences mid-air and how he and the crew handled one of the most terrifying crises, will resonate with those attending the conference as the energy sector’s workforce operates in one of the harshest and most hazardous environments. Keeping the workforce safe is the top priority for our industry and training to a common global standard is best practice. Like the aviation sector, personnel need to know that the person they work shoulder to shoulder with is going to know how to respond in an incident and best safeguard lives.”

More than 400 delegates along with around 20 exhibitors are expected at the free-to-attend event, which is now open for registration. Last year saw people travelling from the UK, US, the Middle East, Europe and Asia Pacific to take part. 

With a continued focus on energy industry safety, the revamped OPITO Global will see an additional technical forum available on the 8th November as an optional subsequent day session. It is expected that around 150 delegates from OPITO’s global network of approved training companies, as well as industry practitioners, will attend the technical forum to delve deeper into the details of delivering the high quality of standards that OPITO sets for the sector around the world.

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