News of the emergency landing of US Airways Flight 1549 began as another grim disaster. But with those aboard quickly delivered from the freezing Hudson waters, this was, improbably, the crash with a happy ending.

Office workers in lower Manhattan watched in horror as the Airbus A320 plane, in a seeming reprise of the horrors of 9/11, flew too low, too near. A water landing in an icy river spurred memories of Air Florida Flight 90's fatal dive into the Potomac River 27 years ago. And as MSNBC carried live coverage of the plane sinking lower and lower, viewers couldn't help but fear the worst.

The Internet, on the other hand, brought instant reassurancephotos posted online showing the flight's 153 passengers and crew assembled on the wing and in lifeboats. A New York ferry happened to be cruising nearby, and four more came to the rescue. Everyone was safe.

In a time when it feels like the nation is sinking, the tale of Flight 1549 is exactly the dash of optimism we need. The promise that a rescuer is around the bend.