- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 22, 2009

NEW YORK | Divers on Wednesday found the missing jet engine that broke off a US Airways plane when it splashed down in the Hudson River, locating it in mud about 65 feet below the surface.

New York Police Department and New Jersey State Police harbor officers working with a sonar expert from the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration had gotten a reading Tuesday of an object 16 feet long and 8 feet wide near the spot where Flight 1549 made its emergency landing.

Divers went into the icy, murky water Wednesday and located the left engine in about 10 minutes, NYPD spokesman Paul Browne said.

Investigators want to closely inspect the engine once it is pulled from the water to better understand how it stopped running after the plane hit a flock of birds shortly after taking off from LaGuardia Airport last Thursday.

The rest of the Airbus A320, with its right engine still attached, was placed on a barge and has been taken to a New Jersey marina to be studied by investigators.

After the sonar reading, divers were unable to locate the object Tuesday because they ran out of daylight. The swift current also made it impossible to drop a robotic device with a video camera to confirm that the object was the engine.

The Army Corps of Engineers dropped a 1,500-pound concrete anchor with a light attached to mark the spot.

On Wednesday, NYPD divers Paul Reynolds and Michael Delaney used the anchor line to guide themselves down to the engine. Mr. Delaney also was involved in the rescue efforts after the Jan. 15 crash landing, pulling passengers from the icy water.

There was no immediate indication when National Transportation Safety Board salvage crews would retrieve the engine from the river bottom.

Police had already located several pieces of debris from the flight, including 35 flotation seat cushions, 12 life jackets, 15 pieces of luggage, two briefcases, 11 purses, 15 suit jackets and shirts, four shoes and two hats, Mr. Browne said.

Meanwhile, federal safety investigators say they have found the remains of what may be a bird in the engine of the US Airways airliner that made a dramatic landing in New York’s Hudson River.

The National Transportation Safety Board said Wednesday an examination of the Airbus 320’s right engine revealed evidence of “soft body damage” and that “organic material” was found in the engine and on the wings and fuselage.

NTSB said samples of the material have been sent to the Agriculture Department for a complete DNA analysis.

Flight 1549’s pilot reported a “double bird strike” and a loss of power in both engines before gliding the plane to an emergency river landing last week.

All 155 people on board the flight survived. They had been bound for Charlotte, N.C.

• AP writers Harry R. Weber, Tom Hays and David Porter contributed to this report.

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