U.S. Airways Plane Crash Into Hudson River, All 155 Aboard Survives

EW YORK – A US Airways jetliner with 155 people aboard lost power in both engines, possibly after striking birds, after taking off from LaGuardia Airport yesterday afternoon, but the pilot ditched in the icy Hudson River and all on board were rescued by a flotilla of converging ferries and emergency boats,

As stunned witnesses watched from high-rise buildings on both banks, the Airbus A320, which had risen to 3,200 feet over the Bronx and banked left, came downriver, flying lower than many apartment terraces and windows, in a carefully executed touchdown that sent up huge plumes of water at midstream, between West 48th Street in Manhattan and Weehawken, N.J.
On board, the pilot, Chesley B. Sullenberger III, 57, unable to get back to LaGuardia, decided to avoid densely populated areas and try for the Hudson, and had warned the 150 passengers to brace for a hard landing. Most had their heads down as the jetliner pancaked and then slammed into the water, just three minutes after takeoff on what was to have been a flight to Charlotte, N.C.
Many on board and watching from the banks were shocked that the aircraft did not sink immediately. Instead, it floated, slowly spinning and drifting south in strong currents, while three New York Waterways commuter ferryboats moved in. Moments later, terrified passengers began swarming out the emergency exits into brutally cold air and onto the submerged wings of the bobbing jetliner, which began taking on water.
When the first ferryboat nudged alongside, witnesses said, some passengers were able to leap onto its deck. Others were helped aboard by ferry crews. Soon, an armada of police boats, fireboats, tugboats, and Coast Guard craft converged on the aircraft, and some of them attached lines to the plane to keep it afloat. Helicopters brought in police divers, who dropped into the water to help with the rescues.
Over the next hour, as a captivated city watched continuous television reports and the Hudson turned from gold to silver in the gathering winter twilight, all the passengers, including at least one baby, both pilots, and all three flight attendants were transferred to the rescue boats – a feat that unfolded while the white-and-blue jetliner continued to drift south.

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