January 15th, 2009
04:30 PM ET

It made a big splash

Editor's Note: CNN's Rick Sanchez interviews an eyewitness directly after the plane went down in the Hudson River.

Rick Sanchez: This is Ben on the phone. Are you on the New York side or New Jersey side?

Ben (eyewitness): New York. I'm at 48th street and Broadway.

Rick Sanchez: What do you see?

Ben: I'm in an office building on the 25th floor. A short time ago, I saw what looked to be a small commercial plane flying south making a gradual landing. I saw it hit the water. It made a big slash. It went into a view where I couldn't see, but I did see it hit the water at a very gradual angle. It appeared not to have landing gear engaged. This was bigger than a puddle jumper or sea plane. It was a silver aircraft and it basically just hit the water.

Rick: The landing or crash landing or splash landing, a controlled landing, no big problems? Describe the landing to us. Was it a controlled landing or whether you saw anything about it that was unusual.

Ben: I didn't know what pilots are trained to do and not do. But if someone's going to land a plane in the water, this seemed the best possible way to do it. The way they hit it was very gradual. A very slow contact with the water that it made. Again, I did not see whether it sank or remained on the surface of the water. It was a very slow, calm, if you will, contact.

Filed under: 360° Radar • Airline Safety
soundoff (One Response)
  1. Michael Wanek

    Whatever the NTSB finds as the reason for this crash, the pilots superb reaction was beyond what most pilots train for in these types of aircraft. Usually pilots train for single engine failure as dual engine failure is unheard of. Although there is a procedure available for dual flame out, it is not emphasized in flight simulator training nor in commercial pilot ground schools.

    During my airline training courses, dual flameout was talked about as a possibility when passing through severe icing or massive turbulence. Though we never practiced this procedure in the sim.

    In my opinion flying a big bird like an A320 deadstick is more than just an accomplishment, it is heroic. The pilots basically were test pilots as they performed a procedure that on a statistical level is extremely remote. And considering their awesome execution was simply a gift as no training program I know of dedicates much time at all training pilots to real proficiency in this manuever.


    Pilot Trainer

    January 15, 2009 at 8:56 pm |