Of COURSE I’m going to blog about this.
US Airways flight 1549, from NYC’s LaGuardia Airport to Charlotte, crashed today. Less than three minutes after takeoff, the plane apparently collided with a flock of birds, and the pilot reported a double bird strike. (At the time of this blog entry, they still weren’t clear on whether that meant birds got sucked into both engines, or that two birds got sucked into one engine… though I would assume the former)
The pilot first started to make plans to return to LaGuardia, but then opted for Teterboro, NJ because it was closer. Ultimately, the plane didn’t make it that long, and the pilot glided it down onto the Hudson River.
The plane, an Airbus A320, bobbed in the water as it slowly sank. Witnesses reported that it was mostly underwater after about thirty minutes. There’s this AMAZING photo:
Nearby ferries rushed over to toss life vests to passengers, and rescuers quickly got all of the passengers and crew off the plane. The pilot walked the interior of the plane twice after everyone else had left, to ensure that every last person was safely off. The major gushed with praise about how well the pilot handled an emergency situation. Way to stand up and be a professional, Captain!
All in all, a happy ending to a horrifying situation. But of course, this strikes home pretty closely for a number of reasons. I travel from NYC to Charlotte a lot (or at least, I used to) My boyfriend, who moved here from NYC, used to fly down to Charlotte and visit me. And my company has a LOT of travel back and forth between Charlotte and NYC (in fact, they announced that there were a limited number of bank associates on that flight) It was definitely a shocking situation.
But then, it was random coincidence that it happened to be THIS flight that hit that flock of geese. A minute — ONE MINUTE — in either direction, and it probably wouldn’t have been impacted. Pure bad luck brought those birds into contact with a plane that HAPPENED to be heading from a city I call “my other home” to the city I live in now.
Still, it does make you sit back for a second and think. Emergencies can happen unexpectedly, for no foreseeable or preventable reason, to any person on any day. Make the most out of the time you have, live each day like it’s your last, etc etc etc.
And pay attention during those pre-takeoff safety instructions, m’kay?