US Airways Crash: 2 Failed Engines, Dozens of Injured, Jet Fuel in the Hudson

Federal investigators have confirmed that both engines failed in last week’s <"">emergency crash landing of US Airways Flight 1549.  The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) reported that recovered black box data confirmed what the pilots first said:  Birds collided with the jet causing them to make an unusual emergency landing into New York’s Hudson River, said Newsday.

Archived Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) radar confirmed that birds appeared near the plane just following takeoff.  NTSB officials said, according to Newsday, that, “We first try to confirm what the crew told us and that’s what happened here; it’s all consistent,” said Robert Benzon, the lead NTSB investigator.  Benzon explained that it can take a year to analyze black box data.  “There are hundreds of different parameters,” he said. “It’s a long process,” quoted Newsday.

Meanwhile, according to Kitty Higgins of the NTSB, some jet fuel leaked into the marina, reported Newsday.  It remains unclear how much fuel—which leaked from the right wing tank—has ended up in the Hudson and what potential problems this poses.

Spokesman Doug Church from the National Air Traffic Controllers Association told the San Francisco Gate that Pilot Chesley Sullenberger contacted the tower and reported that two of the airbus engines were down, saying he needed to return to LaGuardia.  The controller told Sullenberger to land at an airport in Teterboro, New Jersey, which was closer.  The SF Gate reported that there was no mayday call from the plane’s transporter.

155 crew and passengers were aboard Flight 1549, which was making its way from LaGuardia Airport in New York to Charlotte, North Carolina.  Everyone on board survived the crash; however, officials report that 73 people were taken to local area hospitals for hypothermia, broken bones, cuts, and/or bruises and the Weehawken, New Jersey ferry terminal—which was deployed as an emergency medical center—treated 60 passengers, most from hypothermia, said Newsday.  Passengers described the experience as harrowing, said Newsday.

News reports describe people being pulled from the water by police divers, passengers suffering from hypothermia, and others bleeding and suffering from broken bones.  “We’re worried about heavy exposure,” said Dr. Gabriel Wilson, associate medical director of St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center’s emergency room, according to Newsday.  “We’re very concerned about traumatic injuries on top of hypothermia,” said Dr. Chris McCarthy, EMS director at St. Vincent’s, which treated at least six survivors for hypothermia and one other for bruises, said McCarthy, who explained that after being warmed and fed, staff would check further for traumatic injuries, reported Newsday.

Newsday also reported that Dr. Warren Licht, chief medical officer at New York Downtown Hospital said his facility saw three patients, including one suffering from hypothermia; St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center admitted 10 people, according to  Dr. Gabriel Wilson, associate medical director of the hospital’s emergency room.  Of the 10, said spokesman Jeff Jacomowitz, one was a flight attendant who likely suffered fractures.  Jeff Welz, director of public safety for the City of Weehawken said a ferry terminal—and later, a restaurant—saw 58 people.  The restaurant owner said that 20 passengers and 60 rescue workers were seen there.  Five others were taken to Palisades Medical Center, said Newsday.

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