Thursday, January 15, 2009

A US Airways Airbus A320, Flight 1549, has made an emergency landing in the Hudson River after a failed attempt to take off near Manhattan. There were 148 passengers and five crew on the flight to Charlotte from LaGuardia Airport. The plane took off at 3:26 PM EST (UTC-5) and went down minutes later. All aboard survived the landing.

The United States Coast Guard has reported that they have sent units to the scene of the incident, and that a nearby ferry was giving life jackets to survivors. According to witnesses, the plane landed in the river, making a large splash in the water, at a somewhat gradual angle.

“This looked like a controlled descent,” said Bob Read, who witnessed the incident from his office.

A source told The Wall Street Journal that the plane initially was maneuvering to make an emergency landing at nearby Teterboro Airport in New Jersey, but lost too much altitude and had to ditch in the river.

Unconfirmed reports cite the pilot as saying that the plane encountered a flock of geese and that some of them went into both of the jet’s engines, leading to a loss of powered flight. Passengers told the press that they heard a loud bang shortly after takeoff.

A Federal Aviation Administration official said that the plane was airborne for only three minutes. For these rare water landings, pilots are trained to bring the plane down as they would on land, but with the landing gear still retracted.

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