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January 15, 2009

150 Survive Jet Crash

UNITED STATES - A U.S. Airways jetliner crashed into the frigid Hudson River this afternoon after colliding with a flock of geese that disabled both its engines, sending more than 150 passengers and crew members scrambling onto rescue boats.

All on board the plane survived, thanks to the angle of the plane the pilot brought it down in a horizontal position, which allowed the fuselage to act like a buoy and keep the plane afloat and was submerged only up to the windows.

FAA spokeswoman Laura Brown said Flight 1549 had just taken off from LaGuardia Airport en route to Charlotte, N.C., when the crash occurred in the river near 48th Street in midtown Manhattan. The plane, an Airbus 320, took off at 3:26 p.m. and went down minutes later.

Rescue crews opened the door and pulled passengers in yellow life vests from the plane. Rescue boats and ferry boats that ply the Hudson surrounded the plane, which appeared to be slowly sinking in the near-freezing water.

"I see a commercial airliner coming down, looking like it's landing right in the water," said Bob Read, who saw it from his office near the river. "This looked like a controlled descent."

"The passengers should all be thanking the pilot and co-pilot," said one rescue worker. "It wasn't a miracle. It was just really good piloting."

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