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Ferry Boats Used In US Airways Rescue

MICHELE NORRIS, Host:

From NPR News, this is All Things Considered. I'm Michele Norris.

MELISSA BLOCK, Host:

NPR's Robert Smith spent the afternoon and part of the evening out at the scene of the rescue efforts. He joins us now from our New York bureau. And Robert, what more can you tell us about what happened to this flight soon after it took off?

ROBERT SMITH: Now there's enough time that the pilot, we've heard, called in to to see if could make a landing at Teterboro Airport in New Jersey. But as he's turning around, and at this point, he's over one of the most densely packed parts of the nation, New York City, he apparently can't make it to Teterboro and makes a landing in the Hudson River. And you notice I didn't say crash landing because from all indications, this man set down this plane, if not in a gentle way, at least a controlled way, and that was one of the things that helped save lives.

BLOCK: Yeah, one of the passengers on the plane is quoted as saying, "The impact wasn't a whole lot more than a rear-end collision." Robert, dramatic scenes today of rescue of the people on this plane as the plane was partly submerged in the water.

SMITH: And I talked to some of the captains there. They train for this every single month - pulling people out of the water. And when they arrived, they were taking people off the plane wings, off of a rescue raft that had come out of the plane, and there were a couple of people in the water. There were also some police divers, they had to go in the water and pull people out of the water. But despite all of that, very few injuries - some hypothermia, a couple of broken legs, but that's about it.

BLOCK: That's remarkable. And what more can you tell us about the pilot on this plane?

SMITH: His name is Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger, that's what we're hearing, from Danville, California. He's 58 years old. He's a 29-year employee of US Airways, and get this - he's a safety consultant. He has his own firm called Safety Reliability Methods. We talked to one safety expert who said, if I was on that airplane, I would want Sully on the flight deck in charge.

BLOCK: NPR's Robert Smith speaking with us from New York. Robert, thanks very much.

SMITH: You're welcome. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Robert Smith is a host for NPR's Planet Money where he tells stories about how the global economy is affecting our lives.