Thanks for getting this story out so quickly. It will now show up on the home page for four hours. If new developments justify it, I'll renew this flag for another cycle.
US Airways Flight 1549 comes down in Hudson River, New York
US Airways Flight 1549 has come down in the frigid Hudson River in New York.
All 155 people on board are believed to have escaped the downed plane in what the New York governor described as a "miracle on the Hudson". Only minor injuries have been reported and tributes have been paid to the pilot, Chesley B "Sully" Sullenberger, III.
US Airways Flight 1549 was leaving LaGuardia airport heading for Charlotte, North Carolina when it went down. The FAA says that Flight 1549 went down shortly after take off.
An aviation incident known as a bird strike is being stated as the reason Flight 1549 went down. Preliminary reports suggest that Flight 1549 may have hit a flock of geese which blew out an engine and prompted pilots to initiate emergency landing procedures.
The pilot radioed air traffic control about a "double bird strike" shortly before attempting to divert the plane to a private air strip in New Jersey. He then told passengers to prepare for an emergency landing.
NowPublic contributor Pythiian 1, who is based in New York City, was on the story quickly interviewing eyewitnesses. Pythiian 1 had this to add to the coverage,
"The passengers were scattered on the water and picked up by rescue boats, ferries, New York waterway, water taxis as they're brought to shore.
FDNY trucks are lining the Westside Highway off the Hudson River to pick up passengers emerging from the water and ferries. Homeland, FBI, and NYPD personnel came to the scene immediately.
150 passengers and 5 crew members were off the plane. Some passengers were brought to Weehawken New Jersey, while most were brought to the New York side.
25-50 passengers were taken to Roosevelt and St.Luke's Hospitals. Major trauma cases are being taken to St. Luke's and St. Vincent Hospitals."
'Miracle on the Hudson'
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg paid tribute to the pilot of Flight 1549.
He said: "It woud appear the pilot did a masterful job of landing the plane in the river and making sure everyone got out." The pilot "walked the plane twice" to ensure all passengers had got out before leaving the plane himself.
Mayor Bloomberg said the NTSB would be investigating the cause of the accident and would be arriving in New York this evening.
At the same press conference, New York Governor David Paterson also paid tribute to the "heroic" US Airways pilot and called the rescue a "miracle on the Hudson".
In a live interview with a rescued passenger identified as Alberto Panero, CNN's Wolf Blitzer reported that all passengers are safe and that the emergency exit was smoothly handled by US Airways staff.
When asked about his feelings immediately after the rescue Alberto Panero replied, "It was a near death experience (that) thankfully did not turn that way." Passengers are crediting pilots and crew with averting a potential tragedy.
President Bush, due to deliver a farewell address to the nation on Thursday evening, issued a statement on the emergency landing.
Laura and I are inspired by the skill and heroism of the flight crew as well as the dedication and selflessness of the emergency responders and volunteers who rescued passengers from the icy waters of the Hudson. We send our thoughts and prayers to all involved in the accident."
Flight 1549 information
For updates on Flight 1549 try the US Airways hotline 1-800-679-8215.
Doug Parker, US Airways CEO, asked that only family and loved ones of passengers use this number.
Flight 1549, an Airbus A320, was at maximum capacity of 150 seats when it went down, and the total number on board including pilots and crew was 155. As many as 71 people are believed to have been treated for minor injuries at nearby hospitals, including four reported cases of hypothermia.
Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Laura Brown says the US Airways Flight 1549 had just taken off from LaGuardia Airport enroute to Charlotte, N.C., on Thursday when the crash occurred in the river near 48th Street in midtown Manhattan.
Brown says the plane, an Airbus 320, may have been hit by birds.
The plane was submerged in the icy waters up to the windows. Rescue crews had opened the door and were pulling passengers in yellow life vests from the plane. Several boats surrounded the plane, which appeared to be slowly sinking.