Mozy Customers on US Airways Flight 1549

USA Today Personal Technology Columnist Ed Baig published a story of two passengers on US Airways flight 1549 that landed in the Hudson River earlier this year. While one passenger was using Mozy online backup and able to recover his data, another wished he was using Mozy:

"Few people suffer data loss in quite as harrowing a fashion as Bill Wiley. He was a second row passenger on the plane that was famously forced to make an emergency landing on the Hudson River. The passengers all survived the crash, of course. But Wiley still hasn’t recovered the two computers he had on board, containing about 250 gigabytes of data from his employer Computer Associates.

Flight 1549 Wiley had been good about backing up files on the two computers by sharing the contents of one hard drive with the other. He also kept data on thumb drives. And he rarely traveled with both machines, but had to in this case because of an assignment. "I had no idea how screwed I was about to be," he recalls.

Fellow passenger Paul Jorgensen was more fortunate, at least when it came to his computer. The night before the flight, Jorgensen backed up "a ton of data" on his IBM ThinkPad via a business account his employer had with the Mozy online backup service. Jorgensen works for Epocrates, a producer of medical software.

"Pretty quickly after I realized I was 100% safe [on the ferry] I realized I was going to be in pretty deep trouble without that laptop," says Jorgensen, who had been seated in the first row of the plane. "My life is in that laptop."

Within a day, Mozy sent him 6 DVDs with recovered data. "The accident was on a Thursday. By Monday I was completely back up and running."

Fortunately, most people won’t ever have the experience of losing a laptop as a result of a crash landing into the Hudson River, however, catastrophic computer failure does occur on a daily basis as a result of hard drive crash, leaving a laptop in the taxi, or something as benign as a spilled cup of coffee. By contrast, Mr. Wiley is out thousands of dollars and countless time, while Mr. Jorgensen (who has been using Mozy) was back up and running within a few days.

We’re grateful that all passengers on Flight 1549 were in the hands of such an experienced and skillful crew and were all and able to return to their loved ones without any loss of life or significant injury.

Update: ComputerWorld Columnist Lucas Mearian also published a story about Mozy customer Paul Jorgensen:

"The only thing else not lost forever was the data stored on the laptop, copies of which were kept on the servers of an online backup company. Epocrates uses Mozy to back up data and, uncharacteristically, Jorgensen had backed up his files the night before the flight. Six DVDs holding the data were sent to Jorgensen on Jan. 19, just four days after the crash. "I was left without an excuse to not work. It was almost too quick," he joked. . . .

Without the backup, he would have not only lost all of his business data, but a lot of personal data and photos that he kept on the lost laptop. It was one less thing to worry about, he noted."