NYC Releases Video Images Of Water Landing
ANN REALTIME UPDATE 01.17.09 1245 EST: Blame it
on the water. Investigators said Saturday morning the right engine
is still atttached to the US Airways A320 that ditched Thursday
afternoon in New York's Hudson River... contradicting earlier
statements both turbofan nacelles were sheared off the plane as it
impacted the water.
Officials blamed the dark Hudson River -- which is not known for
its pristine clarity -- for obscuring their ability to determine
whether the engine was still attached. Witnesses and armchair
investigators worldwide had theorized the engine was still
attached, though, as the Airbus sits right-wing-heavy in the
As salvage crews work to lift the largely intact airliner from
its berth alongside the Battery Park Esplanade, on Saturday New
York City officials released several new video captures taken by
security cameras, that show the A320 as it glided down to its water
landing. The images (screengrabs above and below) show the airliner
coming in at a shallow approach angle, and skidding across the
water briefly before coming to a stop.
Within 60 seconds, the first passengers begin climbing from the
stricken airliner, awaiting rescue on the plane's wings. First
responder boats, including a NY Waterways ferry, are on scene
within three minutes.
We've said it before and we'll say it again... simply an amazing
0001 EST: How do you lift a mostly-intact
narrowbody airliner out of the Hudson River? That's a question
salvage operators in New York might have gone their entire lives
without pondering, until Thursday's downing of US Airways Flight
To answer that question, CBS News reports, investigators with
the National Transportation Safety Board have called in a large
crane to lift the Airbus A320 from the water, and onto a barge.
That operation is scheduled to take place Saturday morning.
"We want to get the plane recovered as soon as possible but we
want to do it a safe way," NTSB spokeswoman Kitty Higgins said.
Until then, the plane remains tied against the wall of the
Battery Park Esplanade, with most of the fuselage still under the
surface of the brackish water. That hampered divers' efforts Friday
to recover the aircraft's flight data and cockpit voice recorders
from the tail of the stricken plane.
As ANN reported Thursday, 1549 had just
departed New York LaGuardia airport bound for Charlotte, NC when an
apparent encounter with a flock of birds disabled both of the
airliner's turbofan engines.
The plane's flight crew --
Captain Chesley B. "Sully" Sullenberger
III (below), and first officer Jeffrey Skiles --
were able to bring the disabled plane in for a textbook ditching on
the river. All 150 passengers and five crewmembers onboard were
able to evacuate the plane, and were picked up by a flotilla of
water taxis and river patrol vessels in the area.
Officials haven't confirmed a bird strike downed Flight 1549...
though there appear to be few other possible explanations. Various
media reports state Sullenberger himself reported a possible bird
strike in his initial Mayday call to ATC.
Investigators won't be able to say for certain until they
examine the plane's engines for signs of ingestion... but, alas,
that too may be difficult to do. Both engine nacelles reportedly
sheared off from the wings -- most likely due to impact forces,
though it's possible they detached from the plane as boats
attempted to steady the airliner in the water -- and are now
nestled in the muck at the bottom of the river.
"If in fact there was any kind of damage as a result of birds
being ingested, my understanding is that will show up -- the
forensics will help tell us that -- so, it's a very important piece
of the puzzle," said Higgins.
While investigators spent Friday sizing up their tasks ahead,
many passengers were recounting their tales to anyone willing to
listen... and media outlets were quite happy to oblige.
"It's still pretty surreal. It's amazing to be sitting here,"
said passenger Bill Elkin, who was seated near the back of the
Mark P. Hood, who was flying home to Charlotte, recounted
"everyone was holding their breath, making their peace, saying
their prayers... When we hit the water, as soon as we hit I
realized we'd survived. I grabbed (the passenger sitting next to
him) and said, 'We made it. We made it."'
"We had a miracle on 34th Street. I believe now we have had a
miracle on the Hudson," said New York Governor David Paterson in a
press conference Thursday night. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg
said Sullenberger and Skiles -- as well as flight attendants Donna
Dent, Doreen Welsh, and Sheila Dail -- will be presented with keys
to the city for their efforts.
Sullenberger's wife, Lorrie, told reporters outside their home
her husband thought all the attention was "a little weird."
(Incident images courtesy of Gregory