Coast Guard Rescue's Passengers


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No Fatalities Reported in NYC Hudson River Plane Crash
By Margaret Besheer
New York
15 January 2009

Tail fin of Airbus A-320 US Airways aircraft that crash-landed in the Hudson River in New York City, 15 Jan 2009
A U.S. passenger jet crash-landed in New York City's Hudson River on Thursday with 155 passengers and crew onboard. But tragedy was averted when ferries and tourist boats came to the aid of the sinking plane and everyone was evacuated.

U.S. Airways Flight 1549 had just taken off from LaGuardia airport on Thursday afternoon bound for Charlotte, North Carolina when it went down in the frigid waters of the Hudson River.

Officials said the Airbus A-320 may have been hit by birds, disabling one or both of its engines.

Several tourist boats and ferries quickly came to the aid of the downed jet, rescuing stranded passengers who had managed to get out onto the wings of the aircraft. U.S. Coast Guard ships and helicopters also responded.

No deaths or serious injuries have been reported.

Jeff Kolodjay, a rescued passenger from Norwalk, Connecticut was headed to North Carolina on a golf trip when the plane went down.

"The engine blew out about three minutes into the flight," he said. "We circled around and saw we were in line with the Hudson [River]. The captain came on [the plane's public address system] and said, 'Look, we're going down, brace for impact.' And everyone kind of looked at each other and said some prayers. I said about five 'Our Fathers' and five 'Hail Marys' and we hit the water."

U.S. Airways Chairman Doug Parker said preliminary information indicates that everyone is off the plane and accounted for and that the airline would cooperate with authorities in their investigation.

"It is premature to speculate about the cause of this accident," he said. "The National Transportation Safety Board will conduct a thorough investigation to determine the probable cause with our complete support and the support of many others."

Federal Aviation Authorities say they are looking to retrieve the plane's "black box" recorder for more information on the cause of the crash.
here is a another one

NEW YORK (CNN) -- A US Airways plane with 155 people on board went into a chilly Hudson River, apparently after striking at least one bird upon takeoff from New York's LaGuardia Airport, according to officials and passengers.

iReporter Julie Pukelis put a camera in front of a telescope to get this view of the scene in the river.
1 of 3more photos »

Everyone on board was accounted for and alive, officials said. About 15 people were being treated at hospitals and others were being evaluated at triage centers.

Flight 1549, headed to Charlotte, North Carolina, was airborne less than three minutes, according to FAA spokeswoman Laura Brown.

The pilot radioed to air traffic controllers that he had experienced a bird strike and declared an emergency, a New Jersey State Police source said.

Sources identified the pilot as Chelsey B. "Sully" Sullenberger.

"I think a lot of people started praying and just collecting themselves," said passenger Fred Berretta. "It was quite stunning." Watch passenger describe landing »

He said he was expecting the plane to flip over and break apart, but it did not.

"It was a great landing," Berretta said.

Air traffic controllers at LaGuardia saw the plane clear the George Washington Bridge by less than 900 feet before gliding into the water about 3:31 p.m., an aviation source told CNN. Are you there? Send images

Witness Ben Vonklemperer said he watched the plane from the 25th floor of an office building.

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"If someone's going to land a plane in the water, this seemed the best possible way to do it," Vonklemperer said. "The way they hit it was very gradual. A very slow contact with the water."

Passenger Jeff Kolodjay said he was sitting in seat 22A, near one of the engines.

"The plane started filling with water pretty quick," he said. "It was scary. There was a lady with her baby on my left-hand shoulder, and she was crawling over the seats." Watch footage of plane in water »

A picture taken just after the crash showed passengers lined up on slightly submerged safety chutes as they awaited rescue. Police, fire and Coast Guard boats, along with commercial ferries, were quickly on the scene, officials said.

US Airways CEO Doug Parker said 150 passengers and five crew members -- two pilots and three flight attendants -- were on board.

The Coast Guard took aboard 35 people, according to Coast Guard Cmdr. Ron LeBrec.

"I had a long conversation with the pilot," said New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. "He walked the plane twice after everybody else was off, and tried to verify that there was nobody else on board, and assures us there were not."

"It would appear that the pilot did a masterful job of landing the plane in the river and then making sure that everybody got out," Bloomberg said.

The mayor said he did not believe there were any serious injures. Dr. Gabriel Wilson, associated medical director of the emergency room at Roosevelt Hospital, said 55 survivors were checked out and cleared to leave from the scene.

The temperature in New York was 20 degrees about the time of the crash off Manhattan's west side. See map of crash site »

Parker said it would be premature to speculate about the cause of the accident, and that the National Transportation Safety Board would investigate "with our complete support."

A source familiar with the situation, however, told CNN the pilot reported a double bird strike, but it was unclear whether that meant birds in both engines or two birds in one engine.

The pilot initially said he needed to go back, and air traffic controllers started to give him clearance to do so, but the pilot said he wanted to head to Teterboro, New Jersey, because it was closer. That was the last transmission from the pilot, the source said.

Witnesses reported seeing the plane hit a flock of birds, Brown said.

Passenger Alberto Pinero said that within a few minutes after takeoff, "you just heard a loud bang and the plane shook a bit."

Passengers could smell smoke, and "the plane just started turning. ... We knew something was going on, 'cause look, we were turning back," he said. Watch passenger say he heard a loud bang »

The plane's captain came on the speaker and said, " 'Brace for impact,' " he said. "That's when we knew we were going down and into the water. We just hit, and somehow the plane stayed afloat and we were able to get on the raft. It's just incredible right now that everybody's still alive."

Live video showed the plane bobbing in the water and moving with the current surrounded by boats. Bloomberg said later Thursday that the plane was tied to a pier at Battery Park City in lower Manhattan. As night fell, Coast Guard and FDNY boats remained at the scene.

Those being treated at hospitals included a husband and wife with hypothermia at Roosevelt Hospital, as well as a flight attendant with a leg fracture, hospital spokeswoman Michelle Stiles said.

"We circled around ... the captain came on and said, 'Look, we're going down. Brace for impact.' Everyone looked at each other and we said our prayers. I said about five Hail Marys," said passenger Kolodjay, who is from Norwalk, Connecticut, and was headed to Charlotte to play golf.

Jerry Wallis, who said he was a private pilot, said he watched the plane go into the water.

"I've got to tell you, the people flying that airplane deserve all the recognition and commendation they can get," Wallis said.

The National Transportation Safety Board was sending a team to the site, according to an agency spokesman.

Since 1975, five large jetliners have had major accidents in which bird strikes played a role, according to the Web site of Bird Strike Committee USA, a volunteer group dedicated to reducing the frequency and severity of the strikes.

More than 56,000 bird strikes were reported to the FAA from 1998 to 2004, according to the group's Web site.

An Airbus A320 has 150 seats -- 12 in first class and 138 in economy, according to the Airbus Web site.

People who believe they may have had relatives on the flight may call US Airways at 1-800-679-8215 within the United States, the airline said
This is why we love/need/respect/support the Coast know when they show up, things are gonna be OK. Congrats to the NY crews and congrats to you on your appointment.:thumb:
The pilot was a hero. He showed what it is to be a man

of integrity, calm, and responsibility. He must be a great leader and I imagine crews are happy to be on his flights. Those passengers are blessed that he was in command.