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By Margaret Besheer
15 January 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.
|Tail fin of Airbus A-320 US Airways aircraft that crash-landed in the Hudson River in New York City, 15 Jan 2009|
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.