There are no fatalities when a US Airways jet reportedly flies into flock of geese

By Howard Breuer
Updated January 15, 2009 05:40 PM
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Credit: Gary Hershorn/REUTERS/Landov

A US Airways jet made an emergency landing in the Hudson River off midtown Manhattan Thursday afternoon, but all passengers and crew members – more than 150 people – are believed to have escaped.

US Airways flight 1549 took off at 3:26 p.m. from LaGuardia Airport bound for Charlotte, N.C., and may have flown into a flock of geese, according to Federal Aviation Administration. The pilot tried to return to the airport before bringing the Airbus A320 jet smoothly into the river near Manhattan’s West side.

“It was pretty scary, man,” said passenger Jeff Kolodjay, interveiwed by reporters on the Hudson River waterfront after being rescued. “[The pilot] goes, ‘just brace for impact.’ ” Kolodjay was unharmed but said other passengers had serious leg injuries.

“I’m sitting on the couch and I see I see a jet airliner,” 911-caller Neil Lasher, who saw the amazing landing from his 27th floor apartment, told WNBC TV. “He was a on a glide downward, like a controlled landing … I thought, ‘Oh my God, this guy is going to land in the river.’ I go to my window and I watched the entire landing.”

Several commuter ferries and a Coast Guard Cutter quickly arrived on the scene, and New York Police Department divers, dropped from helicopters, began rescuing passengers. Many passengers could be seen standing on a wing, awaiting rescue.

Witness Barbara Sambriski, a researcher at the Associated Press, said, “I just thought, ‘Why is it so low?’ And, splash, it hit the water.”

The temperature in New York City was 20 degrees at the time. CNN reported that passengers were being treated at multiple hospitals.