- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 15, 2009


A US Airways jet crashed into the Hudson River in New York after reportedly colliding with a flock of birds just after takeoff from La Guardia Airport.

The plane crashed into the icy waters at 3:03 p.m., and rafts automatically deployed once the doors were opened. Passengers reportedly could be seen on the wing of the plane before it submerged.

The Coast Guard reports that 35 passengers have been rescued and taken to New York-area hospitals, where they are being treated for exposure. Passengers told WNBC it appeared that all passengers were rescued. Water temperatures were in the low 40s, winds reported at 15 mph.

The Airbus A320, designated Flight 1549, was headed to Charlotte, N.C.

The pilot in command said the crash was caused by a bird strike, said a Homeland Security official who told The Washington Times that such an incident “would not be that unusual.”

“It is certainly possible, and both [New York] airports are notorious for having bird problems,” the official said. “They have expensive, ongoing bird mitigation programs, from firing cannons to other things to disrupt the bird flocks and keep them away from the airport. A goose or a seagull can be catastrophic.”

The official said there is no terrorism nexus related to the crash and that there were 146 passengers and five crew members on board. All are reported to have been rescued.

In addition to the Coast Guard, the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey and other boats are responding to the scene.

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