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Ferry Captains Tell of Swift River Rescue

Friday, January 16, 2009

Luckily for those aboard the U.S. Airways Airbus 320, the entire New York Waterway Ferry staff on duty had no trouble switching gears from rush-hour commuter service to rescue. WNYC's Bob Hennelly has more.

REPORTER: As soon as Flight 1549 hit the water, New York Waterway ferry captains and dozens of crew members made a beeline for the sinking fuselage. Captain Vince Lombardi's crew pulled 56 to safety.

LOMBARDI: They were cheering when we pulled up. There were a lot of scared people when we pulled up. One woman was clutching a child in a raft. They were wet so I imagine they were freezing.

REPORTER: Also responding was 20 year-old Brittany Catanzaro, the company's first female captain. Some of the dozens of plane passengers her crew pulled to safety had no life jackets.

CATANZARO: We used our Jason's cradle. It hangs off the bow of the boat and it drops into the water and we have the option of hoisting somebody up or they have the option of climbing.

REPORTER: Two NYPD divers hit the water in time to save two women who were in the Hudson but were unable to move in the frigid waters on their own. For WNYC I am Bob Hennelly.

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