NORWALK - ? Family and friends are overjoyed and celebrating the life of Norwalk resident Jeff Kolodjay, who was one of the passengers aboard US Airways Flight 1549 when it plunged into the Hudson River Thursday.

Kolodjay, 31, told News 12 Connecticut that he had scheduled a flight on Spirit Airlines headed from LaGuardia to Myrtle Beach for a golf trip, but the flight was canceled.

Kolodjay, along with his father and some friends, opted for the US Airways flight in hopes of making a connection in North Carolina.

Just minutes into the flight, Kolodjay says his outlook on life changed forever.

?Yeah, I shed some tears of course, it was just a surreal experience, scary, but pretty enlightening just breathing today,? says Kolodjay.

Outside his apartment in Norwalk, Kolodjay recounted the moments leading up to the crash and says he heard a big boom and saw a lot of flames coming right past his window.

??He said brace for an impact.? I was looking out the window because I knew we were going to hit the water and I knew it was going to hurt,? says Kolodjay.

Kolodjay was banged up and bruised from the crash but feels lucky that all the passengers are safe and made it out alive.

?I?m glad I lived through it, I hope I never have to again, I?m not sure if I?ll ever put myself in that situation to try it,? says Kolodjay.

Kolodjay and his family will celebrate his life this weekend in Massachusetts, and he says he will stick to driving instead of flying for now.

For extended Flight 1549 crash coverage, go to Channel 612 on your iO digital cable box.