The black boxes recovered from the US Airways jetliner that safely splashed down in the Hudson River last week captured thumping sounds, the sudden loss of engine power and the pilot’s calm mayday request, evidence that seems to back up the crew’s account of hitting a flock of birds shortly after take off.
The pilot, Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, credited with helping save the lives of all 155 people aboard, reports that the plane has hit birds and lost both engines shortly after investigators heard “the sound of thumps and a rapid decrease in engine sounds,” National Transportation Safety Board member Kitty Higgins said.
By KAREN MATTHEWS, Associated Press Writer
Sullenberger then discussed alternate landings at New Jersey airports before deciding to attempt a river landing, she said. Ninety seconds before ditching the plane, he told passengers to “brace for impact” and informs controllers “they will be in the Hudson River,” Higgins said.
The dispatches on the cockpit voice recorder were described as “a very calm, collected exercise,” Robert Benzon, a veteran safety board investigator, said Sunday.
Said Higgins: “It was very matter of fact.”
In Washington, D.C., safety board spokesman Peter Knudson said preliminary indications from radar data of the plane’s take off Thursday from LaGuardia Airport “did not show any targets” that might be birds. But investigators will keep looking, he said.
“We are going to go and get all the electronic data necessary to get a complete picture of what was on his screen. It’s possible there was more being displayed than we initially understood. We just don’t know definitively at this point — we don’t know exactly what was shown on that radar screen,” Knudson said.
US Airways pilot Chelsey B. Sullenberger III. He’s headed to Washington DC for Barack Obama’s inauguration….
Sullenberger, who has so far not publicly talked about the crash, has been invited to attend President-elect Barack Obama’s inauguration on Tuesday, according to the mayor of his hometown, Danville, Calif. An Obama aide said Sunday evening the family had been invited, speaking on condition of anonymity because details were still being worked out.
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A worker looks into the damaged right engine of the US Airways Airbus A320 that made an emergency landing Thursday in the Hudson River as the plane sits on a barge after being lifted out of the river in New York, Sunday, Jan. 18, 2009.(AP Photo/Kathy Willens)