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Pilot hailed for ‘Hudson miracle’
Washington, JAN 16 (Agencies):
Published on 16 Jan. 2009 11:44 PM IST
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Passengers are rescued from the plane's wings. The pilot of an airliner that ditched in New York's Hudson River has been hailed a hero after all 155 passengers and crew were rescued. The US Airways Airbus A320 made the crash-landing minutes out of LaGuardia airport, both its engines apparently disabled by a flock of birds. Passengers were rescued from the wings or helped from the icy water by divers. Captain Chesley Sullenberger was praised by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg for his "masterful" landing. The state governor spoke of a "miracle on the Hudson". The BBC's Greg Wood reports from New York that it was a true delivery from disaster, a commercial airliner forced to ditch in the river just next to the skyscrapers of mid-town Manhattan but with no fatalities. One person suffered two broken legs and paramedics treated 78 patients, most for minor injuries but, through a combination of luck, the skill of the pilot and a rapid emergency response, 155 people have had a very narrow escape, our correspondent says. Air accident investigators are in New York to probe the cause of the incident. Flight 1549 departed LaGuardia en route to Charlotte, North Carolina, at 1526 local time (2026 GMT), after delays, said Laura Brown of the Federal Aviation Administration. "We believe it was airborne for three minutes after take-off when it crashed into the Hudson River," she said. The pilot reported a "double bird strike" less than a minute after take-off and asked to return to the ground, before ditching in the Hudson, an air controllers union spokesman said.

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