M A I N   N E W S

US plane survives crash-landing in
freezing Hudson river
Passengers safe, officials blame it on wayward geese

New York, January 16
All 155 passengers and crew aboard a US Airways Airbus A320 had a miraculous escape after the plane ditched into a frigid Hudson river off westside Manhattan within seconds of take-off, apparently after it ran into a flock of geese.

Federal investigators were examining the plane to pinpoint the cause of failure of the engines within seconds of its taking off from La Guardia airport in New York.

“We’ve had a miracle on the Hudson,” New York governor David Paterson told in a news conference and called the pilot a hero for landing the plane in the fast-flowing river.

“The pilot somehow, without any engines, was able to land this plane” and there were no serious injuries, he said.

Officials said bird hit, caught on radar, looks to be the most plausible cause but they would finally announce it after investigations are complete.

Passengers said the pilots had declared an emergency and had taken one round to ensure that they were following safety instructions before asking them to "prepare for impact."

Reports said the pilot originally wanted to take the plane back to the airport but decided to crashland on water apparently after he realised it might not be possible.

Within minutes, ferries that normally take tourists round the Manhattan Island, and water taxis reached the scene and started rescuing passengers.

Later, other rescue workers, including firemen and police, joined them. The water was freezing and temperature minus 7 degrees C when the accident occurred and those who had jumped into water were taken to hospitals for check-up.

Fortunately, the plane did not sink and remained afloat.

Announcing that all the passengers, including a baby, were safe, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg praised the pilot, Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger, for doing a "masterful job" of landing the plane on the river and then making sure that all had been rescued before getting out of it. — PTI



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