Crews work into night to lift jet out of Hudson river

January 18th, 2009 - 2:22 pm ICT by IANS  

New York, Jan 18 (Xinhua) Crews worked into the night Saturday to slowly lift out of the icy Hudson River a US airways jet that made a successful emergency landing saving all 155 passengers and crew onboard. Work to recover the waterlogged A320 was making “very good progress”, Kitty Higgins of the National Transportation Safety Board told a press conference.

The recovery effort was hampered by slush surrounding the aircraft and huge chunks of ice on a day when air temperature hovered around minus 8 degrees Celsius.

The Airbus jet, now tethered to a pier in Battery Park City in Lower Manhattan, will be hoisted, drained of water and then placed on a barge and taken to an undisclosed location in New Jersey.

The flight bound for Charlotte, North Carolina, met “big, dark brown birds” shortly after takeoff from La Guardia Airport and both engines lost power.

The flight crew decided to land on the Hudson, rather than back to La Guardia or to the nearby smaller Teterboro Airport because the plane was flying “too low, too slow” and would have “catastrophic” consequences if things went wrong.

The successful emergency landing and the ensuing rescue of all the passengers, three flight attendants and two pilots was described as a “miracle on the Hudson” by New York State Governor David Paterson.

Captain Chelsey “Sully” Sullenberger has been hailed as a hero and received phone congratulations from US President George W. Bush and president-elect Barack Obama.

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