Thursday, January 15, 2009
PLANE CRASH IN THE HUDSON RIVER
NEW YORK – A US Airways plane crashed into the frigid Hudson River on Thursday afternoon after striking a bird that disabled two engines, sending 150 on board scrambling onto rescue boats, authorities say. No deaths or serious injuries were immediately reported.
Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Laura Brown says the US Airways Flight 1549 had just taken off from LaGuardia Airport enroute to Charlotte, N.C., when the crash occurred in the river near 48th Street in midtown Manhattan.
Brown says the plane, an Airbus 320, appears to have hit one or more birds.
A law enforcement official said that authorities are not aware of any deaths and that the passengers do not appear to be seriously injured. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the rescue was still under way.
The plane was submerged in the icy waters up to the windows. Rescue crews had opened the door and were pulling passengers in yellow life vests from the plane. Several boats surrounded the plane, which appeared to be slowly sinking.
Government officials do not believe the crash is related to terrorism.
"There is no information at this time to indicate that this is a security-related incident," Homeland Security spokeswoman Laura Keehner said. "We continue to closely monitor the situation which at present is focused on search and rescue."
Witnesses said the plane's pilot appeared to guide the plane down.
"I see a commercial airliner coming down, looking like it's landing right in the water," said Bob Read, who saw it from his office at the television newsmagazine "Inside Edition."
"This looked like a controlled descent."
New York City firefighters and the U.S. Coast Guard are responding to the crash.
"I saw what appeared to be a tail fin of a plane sticking out of the water," said Erica Schietinger, whose office windows at Chelsea Piers look out over the Hudson. "All the boats have sort of circled the area."