Friday, January 16, 2009

Plane crash in New York

(BUMPED for the updates below about hero pilot "Sully" Sullenberger.)

NEW YORK (AP) - A law enforcement official says authorities aren't aware of any deaths from today's plane crash in New York's Hudson River, and that passengers don't appear to be seriously injured.
New York Times confirms all on board escaped. Apparently this was a "double bird" incident, with bird strikes taking out two engines. Wall Street Journal reports:
The pilot of US Airways Flight 1549 achieved one of the most technically challenging and seldom attempted feats in commercial aviation: landing on water successfully. . . .
To accomplish such a feat so soon after takeoff, while maneuvering over the skyscrapers of Manhattan and into the crowded Hudson River, will likely be seen as a testament to the crew's piloting skills.
"It looks like a great bit of flying and great airmanship," said Bob Mann, an airline consultant based in Port Washington, NY.
Drew at AOSHQ sums up what a stud this pilot is:
I gotta say, damn fine job by the flight crew. Total engine failure, low and heavy and over the most populous city in the country? Yeah, there are some free beers in their future.
Michelle Malkin is also blogging the miracle landing.

Yeah, you could see this coming: Obama's miracle. To quote Ace: "He's everywhere. Anywhere a heart open to love and hope exists, so too does Obama." It's easy to joke a bit now that everybody's safe, but . . . well, let's hope those passengers wore their brown pants today.

Capt. "Sully" Sullenberger: Air Force veteran, 40 years of experience, CEO of a private air safety company, and one stud pilot.

MIDNIGHT UPDATE: Hail to the hero:
Michael Bloomberg, the Mayor of New York -- himself an experienced pilot -- said that the captain had insisted on being the last to "abandon ship" after the emergency landing.
"It would appear that the pilot did a masterful job in landing the plane in the river and then making sure nobody else was left on board," Mr Bloomberg said.
"I had a long conversation with the pilot. He walked the plane twice after everyone else got off and tried to verify there was nobody else on board.
Associated Press:
Sullenberger had been studying the psychology of keeping airline crews functioning even in the face of crisis, said Robert Bea, a civil engineer who co-founded UC Berkeley's Center for Catastrophic Risk Management.
Bea said he could think of few pilots as well-situated to bring the plane down safely than Sullenberger.
"When a plane is getting ready to crash with a lot of people who trust you, it is a test.. Sulley proved the end of the road for that test. He had studied it, he had rehearsed it, he had taken it to his heart."
Michelle Malkin uses the word "providential" to describe this situation, and it's an apt word. A plane caught in a disastrous situation, an almost unrecoverable malfunction, and it just so happens that the man at the controls is one of the world's leading experts in the field of crisis piloting. I don't know if there were any atheists aboard Flight 1549 before the crash, but I doubt any of them are still atheists now.

The Smoking Gun:
Sullenberger, who now must be considered the front runner to replace Hillary Clinton as New York's junior United States Senator, is also the founder of Safety Reliability Methods. The firm describes itself as providing "technical expertise and strategic vision and direction to improve safety and reliability in a variety of high risk industries." Business should soon be booming.
Heh. His resume -- and you can e-mail him at

PREVIOUSLY: It landed in the Hudson River. There are survivors. Allah has the story, and here's the CNN video:

UPDATE: WBTV reports the plane was en route to Charlotte N.C.:
A U.S. Airways 320 plane crashed into the Hudson River in New York this afternoon. According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Flight #1549 was leaving La Guardia Airport and was enroute to Charlotte-Douglas International Airport.
The FAA says the plane went down after hitting an obstruction in the air, possibly a bird.
There were more than 135 passengers on the plane.
A passenger on the plane said shortly after the plane departed from the airport, there was a loud noise and smoke entered the cabin. As the plane was returning to the airport, it went down into the water.
An eyewitness on the ground said the plane made a slow, calm descent into the water.
Several ferry boats immediately surrounded the plane and emergency crews responded to the scene. The passengers were able to get off the plane and onto the ferry boats
UPDATE II: Janis Krums posted this photo from the rescue scene via Twitter:


UPDATE III: Associated Press:
It was not immediately clear if there were injuries.
Witness Barbara Sambriski, a researcher at The Associated Press, said, "I just thought, 'Why is it so low?' And, splash, it hit the water."
UPDATE IV: Reports indicate the river landing was a lifesaving feat of aviation after impact with a flock of geese knocked out at least one engine:
Passengers are saying that the pilot kept his cool, steered the plane over the Hudson, gave a quick warning ("Prepare for impact!") and then landed his plane on the water, keeping it in one piece.By the time TV pictures were being streamed live, viewers were presented with the horror of a plane full of passengers sinking slowly into frigid waters.
But that was an illusion: by the time TV pictures came on, apparently, most or all of the passengers had already been taken off the aircraft. The landing was so well done, passengers were able to keep their wits and make their way to a couple of exits. Plenty of boats - bless 'em! - were quickly on the scene, and took the passengers away.
The Right Stuff!

UPDATE IV: More video via Allah:

Always pray during takeoff. Read this book, if you want a better appreciation of the miracle of flight:


  1. This was not a miracle landing. It was heroism and professionalism and all those involved contributed: the pilots, the crew, the passengers.
    Congratulations from Germany.

    Juergen Schlenzig

  2. Sullenberger is a hero to be sure. But this incident is a metaphor for our economy. See http:////

  3. At about the two minute mark you can see US Air Flight 1549 skid into the Hudson. Then, you can see the passengers climb out onto the wings. This video is 10 minutes long. Actual video of Flight 1549 skidding into the Hudson.