Monday, January 19th, 2008
The investigation of the emergency crash landing of a US Airways jetliner will last a year and the lessons will go on for decades.
That's the word from Robert Benzon, the National Transportation Safety Board's chief investigator on the crash. He spoke on Monday as teams of investigators began the lengthy process of analyzing the damage to each part of the aircraft.
Benzon said the fact that every life was saved in the crash has made the investigation the most pleasant he has ever worked on. He also says this investigation lacks the fingerpointing and guilt that sometimes accompanies plane crash investigations.
Pilot Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger safely landed the plane in the frigid waters of the Hudson River on Thursday afternoon after birds apparently shut down the engines shortly after takeoff. All 155 people aboard survived.
Thursday, January 15th, 2008
NEW YORK - A cool-headed pilot maneuvered his crippled jetliner over New York City and ditched it in the frigid Hudson River on Thursday, and all 155 on board were pulled to safety as the plane slowly sank. It was, the governor said, "a miracle on the Hudson." One victim suffered two broken legs, a paramedic said, but there were no other reports of serious injuries.
The US Airways Airbus A320 bound for Charlotte, N.C., struck a flock of birds just after takeoff minutes earlier at LaGuardia Airport, apparently disabling the engines.
The pilot, identified as Chesley B. "Sully" Sullenberger III of Danville, Calif., "was phenomenal," passenger Joe Hart said. "He landed it - I tell you what - the impact wasn't a whole lot more than a rear-end (collision). It threw you into the seat ahead of you.
"Both engines cut out and he actually floated it into the river," he added.
In a city still wounded from the aerial attack on the World Trade Center, authorities were quick to assure the public that terrorism wasn't involved.
The plane was submerged up to its windows in the river by the time rescuers arrived in Coast Guard vessels and ferries. Some passengers waded in water up to their knees, standing on the wing of the plane and waiting for help.
Police divers had to rescue some passengers from underwater, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said. Among those on board was one infant who appeared to be fine, the mayor said.
Helen Rodriguez, a paramedic who was among the first to arrive at the scene, said she saw one woman with two broken legs. Fire officials said others were evaluated for hypothermia, bruises and other minor injuries.
"We had a miracle on 34th Street. I believe now we have had a miracle on the Hudson," Gov. David Paterson said.