Virgin tycoon SIR Richard Branson has abandoned his efforts to hire the heroic pilot of the miraculous Hudson River plane crash for his intergalactic spaceship mission.
The billionaire business mogul was left in awe of U.S. Airways' Captain Chesley B. 'Sully' Sullenberger's quick thinking as he landed his plane on the river after the craft collided with a flock of geese upon departure from New York's LaGuardia airport in January (09).
All 155 passengers and crew were safely escorted from the sinking vessel.
Branson was ready to open his wallet to bring the Captain on-board his Virgin Atlantic Airways, at any cost - and even claimed he could turn the 58-year-old into "one of the astronauts in my intergalactic spaceship company".
However, after Sullenberger considered the offer - he decided to return to work at U.S. Airways.
And Branson now admits his desire to hire the commercial pilot has waned.
He tells the New York Daily news, "I told our airline that I'd love to take him on. It got lost in the wind, sadly. I don't think he pursued us. But it's our loss. We should have put in a bigger effort in pursuing it. He would always be welcome to give us a ring."
Branson will unveil his first Virgin Galactic spaceship next month (Dec09) and is preparing to begin testing the aircraft for spacetravel.