Page last updated at 16:09 GMT, Thursday, 5 February 2009

Hudson plane crash audio released

An excerpt from the recorded communication between pilot and controllers

A recording of communications between air traffic controllers and a pilot of a US airbus which ditched in New York's Hudson River has been released.

The pilot is heard calmly telling controllers the aircraft had been struck by birds. Asked if he can return to the airport, he answers: "Unable".

"We're gonna be in the Hudson," he says, in the last of his messages.

All 155 passengers and crew of Flight 1549 survived January's landing on the river, which made headlines worldwide.

Communications between controllers and one of the two pilots in the cockpit are brief.

The first sign that the US Airways plane is in trouble comes at 1527 local time.


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"This is Cactus 1539 (sic). Hit birds, we lost thrust in both engines, we're turning back towards La Guardia," one of the pilots says.

But one minute later he says the manoeuvre will not be possible. "I'm not sure we can make any runway," he says.

The pilot suggests landing at Teterboro, in New Jersey, but then rules that out a minute later. "We can't do it," he says.

The last communication from the aircraft, less than three minutes after the strike was reported, simply says: "We're gonna be in the Hudson."

The plane had only managed to reach an altitude of 3,200ft (975m).

The 155 passengers and crew were rescued from the sinking aircraft by boats.

Capt Chesley B "Sully" Sullenberger was the last to leave after twice checking the plane for any remaining passengers or crew.

US authorities confirmed on Wednesday that birds collided with both engines of the plane just before it ditched on 16 January.

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