Midlands residents were on plane that crashed into Hudson

Photo courtesy WBTV viewer Charles Spiegel
Photo courtesy WBTV viewer Charles Spiegel

NEW YORK (WIS) - The FAA says all passengers and crew on US Airways Flight 1549 are off the plane and safe, including a Florence attorney who was aboard the plane that made an emergency landing into the Hudson River late Tuesday afternoon.

Lee Nunn of Florence says her husband Michael was not injured and was picked up by a nearby ferry shortly after impact. Michael was aboard the flight following a business trip to New York.

Lee says she had the chance to speak with her husband and says that he is "very thankful."

The wife of a Columbia resident who was also on the plane tells WIS News 10 her husband is renting a car to return from Charlotte, having given up flying for the time being.

The US Airways plane crashed into the frigid Hudson River, after what authorities describe as a bird strike that disabled two engines shortly after takeoff.

Most of the 150 passengers were picked up right away and put on police, Coast Guard and ferry boats, but divers pulled a few passengers from underwater as the plane submerged.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg says he spoke with the pilot and a passenger who claimed to be the last one off the plane.

"It would appear that the pilot did a masterful job of landing the plane in the river, and then making sure everybody got out," Bloomberg said.

Passenger Joe Hart says after both engines cut out the pilot actually "floated" the plane into the river. He calls the pilot's performance "phenomenal."

A Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman says the flight had just taken off from New York's LaGuardia Airport on its way to Charlotte, North Carolina, when the crash occurred in the river near midtown Manhattan.

An Internet search showed the flight scheduled to continue from Charlotte to Seattle, WA before returning to LaGuardia.

The FAA spokeswoman says the Airbus 320 appeared to have hit one or more birds Thursday.

"The left engine just blew," said passenger Jeff Kolodjay. "Fire and flames came out of it, 'cause I was sitting right there. And it just started smelling a lot like gasoline. A couple of minutes after that, the pilot said you guys got to brace for a hard impact. And that's when everyone, to be honest, started saying prayers. We looked over the water and thought we had a chance because of the water. I got to give it to the pilot, man. He made a hell of a landing."

The plane ended up submerged in the icy waters up to the windows. Rescue crews pulled passengers in yellow life vests from the plane, as several boats surrounded the aircraft.

A witness to the crash of a US Airways plane in New York's Hudson River says it looked like a "controlled descent" as the plane came down.

Bob Read watched the plane from his office at the TV newsmagazine "Inside Edition." He said he saw the plane "coming down, looking like it's landing right in the water."

Another witness, Associated Press researcher Barbara Sambriski, says she wondered why the plane was flying so low. And then, she says, "splash, it hit the water."

Bank of America Corp. and Wells Fargo & Co. say a number of employees of the banks were on board the flight.

Wells Fargo spokeswoman Mary Eshet says the three employees of the San Francisco-based bank who were on the plane are all are safe.

At Charlotte-based Bank of America, spokeswoman Nicole Nastacie said the nation's largest bank was confirming the whereabouts of its employees and working with authorities to gather more information.

At Charlotte-Douglas International Airport, the flight was still listed on information screens as a pending arrival, scheduled to land at 5:16 p.m. and pull into gate 5B.

People who believe they may have family members on board flight 1549 may call US Airways at 1-800-679-8215.

Updated by Logan Smith

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