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US Airways Airbus A320 Plane crash, [Flight 1549]

15 January 2009

150 passenger airbus had engine failure 3 minutes after take off from LaGuardia Airport in New York. The pilot managed to redirect the plane and land safely in a river just off Manhattan. There were no fatalities, only some minor injuries.

Air Traffic Control reports that the plane reached 3,000 feet and 178mph before heading towards the river.

passenger: Alberto Panero:

"The plane shook a bit and immediately, you could smell smoke or fire and immediately, the plane basically just started turning in another direction,"

"All of a sudden, the captain came on and said, 'Brace for impact' and that's when we knew we were going down, into the water. And we just hit and somehow the plane, you know, stayed afloat and we were all able to get on the raft and -- it's just incredible right now that everybody's still alive."

Traffic control recording transcript:
3:27:32 New York TRACON: "Cactus 1549, turn left heading 2-7-0."

3:27:36 Flight 1549: "Ah, this, uh, Cactus 1539. Hit birds, we lost thrust in both engines. We're turning back towards LaGuardia."

3:27:42 New York TRACON: "OK, yea, you need to return to Laguardia. Turn left heading of uh, 2-2-0."

3:27:46 Flight 1549: 2-2-0.

3:27:49 New York TRACON: "Tower, stop your departures. We got an emergency returning."

3:27:53 LaGuardia "Who is it?"

3:27:54 New York TRACON: "It's 1529, he ah, bird strike. He lost all engines. He lost the thrust in the engines. He is returning immediately."

3:27:59 LaGuardia: "Cactus 1529, which engine?"

3:28:01 New York TRACON: "He lost thrust in both engines, he said."

3:28:03 LaGuardia: "Got it."

3:28:05 New York TRACON: "Cactus 1529, if we can get it to you, do you want to try to land runway 1-3?"

3:28:11 Flight 1549: "We're unable. We may end up in the Hudson."

3:28:17 New York TRACON: "Jet Link 2760, turn left 0-7-0."

3:28:19 Jet Link 2760: "Left turn, 0-7-0 Jet Link 2760."

3:28:31 New York TRACON: "Alright cactus 1549. It's going to be a left. Traffic to runway 3-1."

3:28:34 Flight 1549: "Unable."

3:28:36 New York TRACON: "OK, what do you need to land?"

3:28:46 New York TRACON: "Cactus 1549, runway four is available if you want to make left traffic to runway four."

3:28:50 Flight 1549: "I am not sure if we can make runway. Oh, what's that over to our right? Anything in New Jersey, maybe Teterboro?"

3:28:55 New York TRACON: "OK yea, off to your right is Teterboro airport."

3:29:02 New York TRACON: "Do you want to try and go to Teterboro?"

3:29:03 Flight 1549: "Yes."

3:29:05 New York TRACON: "Teterboro, uh, empire actually. LaGuardia departure got an emergency inbound.

3:29:10 Teterboro: "OK, go ahead."

3:29:11 New York TRACON: "Cactus 1529, Over the George Washington Bridge want to go to the airport right now."

3:29:14 Teterboro: "He wants to go to our airport check. Does he need any assistance?"

3:29:17 New York TRACON: "Ah, yes, he, ah, was a bird strike. Can I get him in for runway one?"

3:29:19 Teterboro: "Runway one, that's good."

3:29:21 New York TRACON: "Cactus 1529, turn right 2-8-0, you can land runway one at Teterboro."

3:29:25 Flight 1549: "We can't do it."

3:29:26 New York TRACON: "OK, which runway would you like at Teterboro?"

3:29:28 Flight 1549: "We're gonna be in the Hudson."

3:29:33 New York TRACON: "I'm sorry, say again, Cactus."

3:29:41 New York TRACON: "Jetlink, 2760, contact New York. O-2-6 point 8.

3:29:45 Jet Link 2760: "20-6-8 Jet Link 2760."

3:29:51 New York TRACON: "Cactus, ah, cactus 1549, radar contact is lost. You also got Newark airport off your two o'clock and about seven miles."

3:30:06 New York TRACON: Eagle flight 4718, turn left heading 2-1-0.

3:30:09 Eagle Flight 4718: "2-1-0, um, 4718. I don't know, I think he said he was going in the Hudson."

3:30:14 New York TRACON: "Cactus 1529, uh, you still on?"

3:30:22 New York TRACON: "Cactus 1529, if you can, ah, you got, ah, runway 2-9 available at Newark off your two o'clock and seven miles."

3:30:32 New York TRACON: "Eagle flight 4718, climb and maintain one two thousand."

3:30:34 Eagle flight 4718 "OK, 1-2 thousand and, ah, leaving 5 and 280 heading."

3:30:41 New York TRACON: "And Eagle flight 4718, I"m sorry, I missed that, say again."

3:30:45 Eagle Flight 4718: "And uh, we're up to 12,000, uh, 280 on the heading."

3:30:48 New York TRACON: "OK, thank you Eagle flight 4718, Turn left. 2-2-0."

3:30:51 Eagle Flight 4718 "2-2-0 4718."

3:31:30 Unknown: "Was that cactus up by the Tappan Zee?"

3:31:32 New York TRACON: "Uh, yeah, it was a cactus. He was just north of the, ah, George Washington Bridge when they had the bird strike."

witness: Ben Vonklemperer

"I saw what looked to be a small commercial plane flying south making a gradual landing .... I saw it hit the water. It made a big splash," he said. "I did see it hit the water at a very gradual angle. It appeared not to have landing gear engaged,"

passenger: Jeff Kolodjay

"The engine blew. There was fire everywhere and it smelled like gas, ... People were bleeding all over. We hit the water pretty hard. It was scary,"

"You've got to give it to the pilot ... He made a hell of a landing."

witness: Stephanie Nachman

"I was having a meeting with several people. I was the only one facing the window. Everyone looked at my face, they saw my jaw drop and they all turned around and we were all staring with our faces against the glass. "

"I have to tell you it was remarkable. It literally looked as though it was coming in for a landing on a runway and I.. had the water been the ground, it would have appeared as though it was a safe and smooth landing."

The National Transportation Safety Board sent a team of 20 investigators to New York to look into the crash. Board spokesman Ted Lopatkiewicz said the on-scene segment of crash investigations usually takes five to seven days.

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