Left engine missing from US Airways jetliner that ditched in Hudson

January 16, 2009

(ChattahBox) – Federal investigators say the left engine on the US Airways jetliner that made an emergency landing in the Hudson River is missing.

The US Airways Airbus A320 bound for Charlotte, N.C. then Seattle, struck a flock of birds just after takeoff minutes earlier at LaGuardia Airport, apparently disabling the engines.
Experts say it’s not uncommon for engines to break apart from planes after bird strikes, because of the severe vibration brought on in such incidents. It was not clear if the right engine was still on the wing either, because it is submerged.

In a photograph of the plane as it approached the river, it appears to have both its engines.

Police divers were using sonar Friday to help find the engine as investigators brought in a giant crane, divers and a barge help pull the aircraft from the river.

National Transportation Safety Board spokesman Peter Knudson said it’s unclear when the engine separated from the plane. He said that will likely be solved once the flight data recorder is retrieved.

The pilot, Chesley Sullenberger 3rd, unable to get back to La Guardia, maneuvered his crippled jetliner, avoiding densely populated areas and try for the Hudson and had warned the 150 passengers to brace for a hard landing. Most had their heads down as the jetliner slammed into the water, nose slightly up, just three minutes after takeoff on what was to be a flight to Charlotte, North Carolina. It was, the governor said, “a miracle on the Hudson.”

The plane was submerged up to its windows in the river by the time frantic rescuers arrived in Coast Guard vessels and ferries. Some passengers waded in water up to their knees, standing on the wing of the plane and waiting for help.   When all were out, the pilot walked up and down the aisle twice to make sure the plane was empty, officials said.

One victim suffered two broken legs, a paramedic said, but there were no other reports of serious injuries.
Police divers had to rescue some passengers from underwater, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said.


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