NEW YORK, N.Y. (WPIX)—While nobody is disputing that Captain Chesley Sullenberger ditched US Airways Flight 1549 in the Hudson between New York and New Jersey on January 15, 2009 after striking Canada geese causing the aircraft to lose thrust in both engines, there is some question as to who opened a cabin door allowing more water to rush into the plane once in the river.
The original story reportedly was that flight attendant Doreen Welsh said a panicked passenger pushed past her to crack open the rear door on the aircraft. But NTSB board member Robert Sumwalt said passenger Billy Campbell told investigators that it was flight attendant Doreen Welsh who opened the door, not a passenger.
NTSB spokesman Peter Knudson said that several other passengers gave similar accounts as Campbell's.
Hearings will be held this coming week in Washington, DC by the NTSB. The first two witnesses scheduled to testify are the flight's captain Sullenberger and passenger Campbell, who was seated in the second to last row of the Airbus A320.
Board member Sumwalt has said they want to get to the bottom of the discrepancy over who opened the door. "That's what we want to straighten out. We want to get his(Campbell's) testimony on that, was it a passenger or a flight attendant?"
Investigators so far have found that a rupture in the plane's fuselage sent water streaming into the cabin and that the opening of the rear door compounded the problem. Passengers frantically struggled to move forward as the water rose. Remarkably all 155 aboard survived.