If you’re wondering why it’s still in one piece, it’s because it couldn’t have been in the air for more than 90 seconds or so to have started at LaGuardia and ended up in the Hudson. No details yet, but I’ll be curious to see what the top altitude was.
The cause, if you can believe it, is apparently a collision with a flock of geese. There are survivors; ferries in the river are pulling them off the wings. You can watch live at MSNBC. Stand by for updates.
Update: Surreal footage from CNN. I confess, I didn’t know that planes float.
Update: It’s 20 degrees right now in NYC, incidentally. Wind chill: Seven degrees.
Update: Get a load of this. I’m cautiously optimistic that everyone’s going to be rescued.
Update: CBS NY says it was in the air for six full minutes and made it up to 3,200 feet. I’m amazed it’s intact. The pilot must have brought it down at a remarkably gentle angle.
Update: Ah, here’s why it was in the air for so long — they were actually trying to return to LaGuardia.
The plane, US Airways flight 1549, took off from LaGuardia Airport at 3:26 p.m. was bound for Charlotte, N.C. and had 146 passengers and 5 crew members. The plane may have hit a flock of birds, according to a F.A.A. report, and then descended. The pilot tried to return to the airport when the plane fell into the Hudson.
Evidently there are injuries, but maybe just hypothermia and shock. No reports of deaths yet.
Update: I hope this guy’s right because it looks the plane’s sinking now:
“Prepare for impact” – all that was said by the pilot before the landed in the river according to passenger Alberto Panero in a phone interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer.
“Somehow the plane stayed afloat and we were all able to get on the raft,” said Panero. “Some people were on the wings and had to wait there but most of the people were able to get on the raft.”…
“I can’t say 100% but I’m pretty sure everyone was able to get off,” he said. “It was just like a car crash, the impact.”
Update: An eyewitness describes the “incredibly controlled” landing, almost like a sea plane.
Update: The FAA says everyone’s alive. I see a promotion in someone’s future.
Update: Meet the hero. A quote from Time Magazine: “At a press conference soon after the incident, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said that the pilot walked up and down the aisle twice to make sure no one was left on the plane.”