NEW YORK — Jeff Kolodjay of Norwalk, Conn., put his head in his lap and started praying when he heard the captain of a US Airways say, "Brace for impact because we’re going down.”
The pilot ditched his disabled jetliner into the frigid Hudson River on Thursday afternoon after a collision with a flock of birds apparently knocked out both engines. The plane was submerged in the icy waters up to the windows when rescuers in police and Coast Guard vessels and ferry boats arrived. All 155 people on board were pulled.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg, an experienced pilot, said it appeared the pilot did "a masterful job of landing the plane in the river and then making sure everybody got out.” And Gov. David Patterson pronounced it "a miracle on the Hudson.”
Police divers rescued a few people from the water, Bloomberg said. Other passengers were able to walk out onto the wings, then onto rescue boats.
"There were eyewitness reports the plane may have flown into a flock of birds,” said Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Laura Brown.
AP Video: Plane crashes into Hudson River