Page last updated at 22:22 GMT, Saturday, 17 January 2009

New pictures show NY plane crash


Video of plane crash landing

New pictures have emerged of a US Airways plane crashing into the Hudson River in New York City.

The pictures, released by the New York City Harbour, show the plane hitting the water and passengers sitting on its wings, awaiting rescue.

The pilot of the plane told controllers he had hit birds before Thursday's accident, which all 155 people on board survived, officials said.

Recovery teams are preparing to lift the fuselage of the plane.

The US Airways plane has been tied to a pier since Thursday's accident.

The plane is due to be lifted by a crane and placed on a barge.

Investigators say the right engine of the jet is still attached to the aeroplane and divers are searching for one missing engine.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) had said on Friday that both engines were missing and that strong currents were hampering the search.

It now says that visibility was so poor that divers had been unable to see the attached engine.

Officials said they want to avoid the plane breaking apart as it is salvaged.

US Airways pilot Chesley B Sullenberger III (image from Safety Reliability Methods website)
Chesley B 'Sully' Sullenberger III
Age 57, from Danville, California
Former Air Force fighter pilot
29 years with US Airways
Has own consulting business, Safety Reliability Methods Inc

Struck birds

The NTSB's Kitty Higgins said the pilot had told controllers he had struck birds.

Pilot Chesley Sullenberger and his co-pilot are being interviewed by investigators.

While relieved passengers have spoken to the media of their ordeal in the freezing waters, Captain Sullenberger is not able to speak publicly while the inquiry continues.

He was widely praised for his skill in bringing down the stricken plane after both engines failed when birds apparently flew into them.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg also honoured the rescuers who pulled all the passengers and crew to safety.

One person suffered two broken legs in the crash and paramedics treated 78 patients, most for minor injuries.

'Controlled chaos'

Passengers and eyewitnesses have been speaking to the media about their experiences.

"I heard an explosion, and I saw flames coming from the left wing, and I thought, 'this isn't good'," said passenger Dave Sanderson.

"Then it was just controlled chaos. People started running up the aisle. People were getting shoved out of the way."

Another passenger, Billy Campbell, described water rushing into the plane as flight attendants did "a wonderful job" of evacuating everyone.

"It's good to be alive today," said Martin Sosa, a father who had been travelling with two young children and his wife.

After crashing on the water, the plane was pulled rapidly down the river, until it was guided to a halt by tug boats against a pier.

The temperature was almost -7C (19F) and the current in the Hudson was running rapidly.

Map of incident
1 1526 local time (2026 GMT): Flight 1549 takes off from LaGuardia airport
2 1527 (2027 GMT): Pilot Chesley Sullenberger reports birds hitting engines
3 1528 (2028 GMT): Pilot told to land at Teterboro airfield
4 1531 (2031 GMT): Pilot ditches plane in Hudson River

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