US Airways plane crashes into frigid New York river

Passengers in an inflatable raft move away from an Airbus 320 US

A US Airways plane crashed into the Hudson River on Thursday
afternoon after striking a bird that disabled two engines, sending
passengers fleeing for safety in the frigid waters, a government
official says.
A US Airways plane crashed into the Hudson River on Thursday afternoon after striking a bird that disabled two engines, sending passengers fleeing for safety in the frigid waters, a government official says.

Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Laura Brown says the US Airways Flight 1549 had just taken off from LaGuardia Airport enroute to Charlotte, N.C., when the crash occurred in the river near 48th Street in midtown Manhattan.

Brown says the plane, an Airbus 320, appears to have hit one or more birds.

The plane was submerged in the icy waters up to the windows. Rescue crews had opened the door and were pulling passengers in yellow life vests from the plane. Several boats surrounded the plane, which appeared to be slowly sinking.

Government officials do not believe the crash is related to terrorism.

“There is no information at this time to indicate that this is a security-related incident,” Homeland Security spokeswoman Laura Keehner said. “We continue to closely monitor the situation which at present is focused on search and rescue.”

New York City firefighters and the U.S. Coast Guard are responding to the crash. It was not immediately clear if there were injuries.

“I saw what appeared to be a tail fin of a plane sticking out of the water,” said Erica Schietinger, whose office windows at Chelsea Piers look out over the Hudson. “All the boats have sort of circled the area. … I can’t tell what’s what at this point.”

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