A US Airways flight just crashed into the Hudson River. Police boats and commuter ferries are on the scene, where the plane remains afloat and they are attempting to rescue passengers. It was a flight from LaGuardia to Charlotte that took off at 3:03. There are 135 155 passengers and crew aboard. We’ll update you as we learn more.
Update: An eyewitness told CNN that the plane hit the water at a “very gradual angle” without landing gear deployed, suggesting that the pilot was in control.
Update 2: The Coast Guard said they are dropping life jackets in the water for passengers, and they expect that people will have time to get off.
Update 3: People can be seen exiting the plane as it slowly sinks. An FAA spokeswoman says the plane, an Airbus 320, “may have been hit by birds.”
Update 4: Passengers who are on rescue boats are telling reporters that they think everyone is relatively okay, and that they think everyone is now off the plane.
Update 5: A passenger is telling CNN that flight attendants and a handful of passengers kept everyone calm, and got everyone to begin evacuating within moments of the impact. Many passengers took seat cushions and aviation life vests, as per manual instructions. If any passengers want to tell us about their experiences, please feel free to e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Update 6: With everyone officially off the plane and being transported to safety at the piers in Weehawken, passengers have begun publicly (and effusively) thanking the pilot for the safe landing. Apparently the evacuation began within seconds of impact. Also, everyone is pretty sure it was the geese’s fault.
Update 7: Officials have opened the front doors of the plane, allowing the trapped air to escape. Without the trapped air bubble, the plane is beginning to sink.
Update 8: Our reporter on the scene says that it will be a couple of hours before passengers are released; They, and rescue workers, are being treated for exposure because of the weather.
Update 9: Mayor Bloomberg is on the scene at the New York Waterways Ferry building, where the passengers now are. As he entered the building, a recovering passenger on a gurney was just wheeled out.
Update 10: Hooray! Governor David Paterson just arrived! He’ll just cuddle the hypothermia out of them.
Update 11: A fireman on the scene told our reporter that passengers are actually scattered at locations up and down the Hudson, depending on the moment they were plucked from the drifting plane. The pilot said he walked the length of the aircraft, checking everywhere to make sure everyone was gone before he was the last to deplane.
Update 12: CNN is reporting that there were some minor injuries, and some victims have been hospitalized in New York and New Jersey for hypothermia.
Update 13: Our reporter on the scene at the Waterways building says there are at least a hundred reporters and cameramen there, and a few fire trucks and ambulances. He’s only seen three people wheeled out on gurneys.
Update 14: The Mayor just spoke, explaining that indeed they believed that everyone got off the plane safely. “The reason I’m saying ‘we believe’ and ‘we think’ is that some were taken to New Jersey and some were taken to New York.” Most were picked up by New York harbor boats, and some were picked up by Circle Line boats and some were picked up by the Coast Guard, he explained. “There is no reason to believe at the moment that this wasn’t something that we should thank God for that everyone got out safely.” He said that the pilot walked the plane twice making sure there was nobody left after him, and did a “masterful job” of taking care of every passenger. The National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the cause of the crash landing, which the Mayor would not speculate upon, other than to say that there was “absolutely no indication whatsoever” that it had anything to do with terrorism. David Paterson, who also spoke, said that at least one passenger had lost a family member in September 11. “We’ve had a miracle on 34th Street before,” Paterson said. “I believe now we’ve had a miracle on the Hudson.”
Update 15: We now have our own video of the plane drifting down the river.
This photo was taken by a passenger on one of the first ferries onto the scene:This early photo was taken before any ferries were on the scene. As you can see, passengers were already exiting the plane:
This photo was taken as the passengers began to be rescued: