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Hudson hero, family going to inauguration

/ Source: NBC News and news services

At the invitation of President-elect Barack Obama, Chesley B. "Sully" Sullenberger, the hero pilot of the US Airways plane that landed in the Hudson River last week, and his family will attend Tuesday's inaugural festivities.

Meanwhile, the crew of Flight 1549 — including the captain, first officer and three flight attendants — issued a joint statement Monday saying they want the media to "respect their desire to refrain from participating in interviews until further notices" while the National Transportation Safety Board investigates the accident.

The crew said they "wish to offer their sincere thanks and appreciation for the overwhelming support, praise and well wishes they have received from the public around the world since the events of last Thursday."

They said they are willing to do media interviews "when the time is right."

Sullenberger had been scheduled to give his first interview since the crash landing Monday on TODAY, but the interview was postponed.

Matt Lauer, co-host of the morning news program on NBC, told viewers that the pilot decided he wanted to give the NTSB more time to conduct its investigation before making his first public comments about the daring water landing.

Invite to the inauguration
An aide to Obama said Sunday evening that all five members of the crew have been invited to the inauguration. The aide spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because details were still being worked out.

It was not yet clear where, or with whom, Sullenberger would sit at the inaugural but the seat was expected to be fairly prominent.

In addition, Obama also promised to take the entire crew on Air Force 1 whenever they would like to do it, NBC News reported Monday.

Mayor Newell Arnerich said Sunday that the town of Danville, Calif., Sully's hometown, is also planning a welcome home for the pilot.

The Danville mayor said Lorraine Sullenberger told city officials that the family was to leave for the East Coast on Sunday. The pilot's wife and daughters had not seen Sullenberger since he was hailed as a hero for saving the lives of all 155 on board.

Danville scheduled a celebration Saturday for Sullenberger. Arnerich said the event was tentative because he was not sure when the pilot would return home.

The mayor said a U.S. Air Force Color Guard and flyover are expected. Sullenberger was named best aviator in his class at the Air Force Academy.