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Help Converged on a Flowing Crash Site

Friday, January 16, 2009

The Hudson River landing apparently saved the lives of passengers and crews. But it also meant that the crash site was a continuously moving one. WNYC's Matthew Schuerman followed the plane as it floated down the Hudson.

REPORTER: It didn't take long before a fleet of vessels gathered around the downed plane. Commuter ferries taking passengers to and from New Jersey, police boats and a Coast Guard cutter.

Even after all the passengers were rescued, the boats continued to encircle the plane as it floated downstream with the current, at about three miles an hour. Most of the time, only the tail and a bit of the wing was visible above the water.

Finally, as the jet reached Battery Park City, about 70 blocks south of where it first entered the Hudson, it was dragged to the New York side. As the wind chill dropped to the single digits, a fire department scuba diver, dressed like an old-fashioned harpooner, tied the plane to the sea wall. Federal investigators took control of the site last night. For WNYC, I'm Matthew Schuerman.

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