Birds to Blame for Downed Plane

January 16, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
Birds are likely to blame for sending a U.S. Airways plane into a crash landing in the Hudson River in the middle of Manhattan.The pilot, who is from the bay area, guided the crippled jetliner safely into the water. All 155 people on board survived.

This was the miracle on the Hudson.

U.S. Airways flight 1549 departed from LaGuardia airport around 3:30pm heading to Charlotte, North Carolina. Things started to go wrong within minutes.

"The airplane took off to the north, but apparently ran into from our understanding a flock of birds of some sort. At that point he had a problem with both engines," said ABC Aviation Expert John Nance.

"It just started smelling a lot like gasoline. A couple of minutes after that the pilot said you guys gotta brace for a hard impact. And that's when everyone started saying prayers," said passenger Jeff Kolojay.

Now, the 155 passengers on the plane are thanking the quick-thinking pilot, Chesley "Sully" Sullenburger for saving their lives. He made the decision to land the plane on the water instead of nearby Teterboro Airport.

"You gotta give it to the pilot, man, he did a helluva landing," said Kolojay.

"To make the decision to land on water, you've got to be sure you do not have the power to make it to an airport only one airport," said Nance, "If he'd committed to that, ended up landing on a bunch of houses, which could have been catastrophic."

It was an amazing landing on a day when so much could have gone wrong.

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