Officials confirm prior problems with Hudson River plane

January 21st, 2009 - 4:51 am ICT by IANS  

Barack ObamaNew York, Jan 21 (DPA) The plane that spectacularly crashed into the Hudson River in New York last week already had problems before the accident, authorities investigating the accident confirmed Tuesday.According to the NY1 TV channel, an official admitted that one of the machine’s compressors broke two days before the crash. This confirmed the comments made by passengers who spoke of a loud noise on the right side of the plane.

The National Transportation Safety Board could not be reached for comment.

It remained unclear whether the malfunction had anything to do with the Airbus’ later crash, and the investigation was ongoing.

On Tuesday, the CNN cited three passengers who said that they had already heard loud blows on the same US Airways plane two days before the accident last Thursday. The crew announced an emergency landing, but then were said to have decided against it.

US Airways declined to confirm the reports, pending further investigation of the crash - which miraculously left all 155 passengers and crew unharmed.

Pilot Chesley Sullenberger and his crew had been invited to Tuesday’s historic inauguration of Barack Obama as US president.

US Airways reportedly paid each of the plane’s passengers $5,000 for their lost luggage.

Passenger Steve Jeffrey - who flew from New York to Charlotte, in the state of North Carolina in that same plane just two days before the accident - said he heard an unusually loud noise 20 minutes after take-off.

“It seemed so loud, like luggage was hitting the side but times a thousand,” the businessman was quoted as saying.

The red lights started going on, he said.

John Hodock, another passenger in Jeffrey’s flight, did not just speak of loud noises, but also of flames which emerged from the plane’s right engine.

“The pilot at first told us that we were going to make an emergency landing, but after about five minutes, continued the flight to Charlotte,” he told CNN by e-mail.

A woman whose name was not made public reportedly spoke of a “loud banging sound”.

A spokesman for the investigation of the crash said that all evidence would be taken into account.

The plane crashed Thursday, some 90 seconds after take-off. The pilot reported a double bird strike, but the authorities have not yet officially confirmed this as the cause of the accident.

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