New York news crews rush to cover "miracle" rescue

Thu Jan 15, 2009 9:41pm EST
 
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By Paul J. Gough

NEW YORK (Hollywood Reporter) - Call it the miracle on the Hudson.

Manhattan-based TV news crews got quite a workout at about 3:30 p.m. ET when a US Airways Airbus A320 lost both engines and landed in the Hudson River off Midtown Manhattan. Coverage went live nationwide as the passengers were rescued from the icy river; all 155 people aboard apparently survived.

"We've had a miracle on 34th Street. I believe now we've had a miracle on the Hudson," a relieved New York Gov. David Paterson said at a news conference held by Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

The twin-engine jet, which floated for two hours after the emergency landing, had taken off moments before from LaGuardia International Airport bound for Charlotte, North Carolina. The flight lasted less than six minutes.

Word about a jet landing in the water soon began to leak into CBS News headquarters, three blocks from the crash site. CBS News quickly confirmed it, and CBS Radio went on the air at 3:44 p.m., three minutes before the Associated Press moved the story.

The TV crews weren't there to record most of the passengers and crew leaving the airliner, but every network broke into regular programing and showed the jet floating in the water, surrounded by ferries, Coast Guard cutters and police and fire boats. WABC-TV showed amateur video of the jet floating in the middle of the river with a New York Waterway ferry first arriving on the scene to rescue passengers.

While the passengers scattered to New Jersey and Manhattan on ferries and other watercraft -- some to hospitals -- several gave interviews while sopping wet.

"The pilot turned around (and) made a line for the river," one passenger, identified as Fred, told CNN's Wolf Blitzer. "There was just a lot of silence, and everybody was just waiting for what the pilot would say. A few minutes later, he said, 'Prepare for impact,' and then we went into the water."   Continued...

 
<p>Emergency personnel search for passengers after a U.S. Airways plane landed in the Hudson River in New York, January 15, 2009. A US Airways jet with more than 150 people on board came down into the frigid Hudson River off Manhattan after apparently hitting a flock of geese on Thursday and officials said everyone was rescued. REUTERS/Eric Thayer</p>