All safe after plane splashes into river

By The Associated Press Modified: January 16, 2009 at 5:10 am •  Published: January 16, 2009
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photo - Airline passengers wait to board a ferry to be rescued on the wings of a US Airways Airbus 320 jetliner that safely ditched in the frigid waters of the  Hudson  River in New York, Thursday Jan. 15, 2009 after a flock of birds knocked out both its engines. All 155 people on board survived. (AP Photo/Steven Day)
Airline passengers wait to board a ferry to be rescued on the wings of a US Airways Airbus 320 jetliner that safely ditched in the frigid waters of the Hudson River in New York, Thursday Jan. 15, 2009 after a flock of birds knocked out both its engines. All 155 people on board survived. (AP Photo/Steven Day)
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


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COLD WATERS
US Airways flight 1549 went down minutes after takeoff from LaGuardia Airport for Charlotte, N.C., splashing into the river near 48th Street in midtown Manhattan. The plane was sinking in the near-freezing water on one of the coldest days of the year, with the mercury around 20 degrees.

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