NEW YORK — A US Airways plane crashed into the Hudson River, sending passengers fleeing for safety in the frigid waters.
A passenger on the plane who was rescured told CNN all passengers survived the crash and have been rescued.
Homeland Security and FBI officials say there's no indication that a plane crash in New York City was terrorism.
FBI spokesman Richard Kolko said the bureau is aware of the crash in the Hudson River but says investigators have no information suggesting it was, as he called it, a security-related incident.
Homeland Security spokeswoman Laura Keehner said the same thing. Early indications from government officials was that the plane was disabled after striking birds.
Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Laura Brown says the US Airways Flight 1549 had just taken off from LaGuardia Airport enroute to Charlotte on today when the crash occured in the river near 48th Street in midtown Manhattan.
Brown says the plane, an Airbus 320, may have been hit by birds.
The plane was submerged in the icy waters up to the windows. Rescue crews had opened the door and were pulling passengers in yellow life vests from the plane. Several boats surrounded the plane, which appeared to be slowly sinking.
New York City firefighters are responding to the crash. It was not immediately clear if there were injuries.
"I saw what appeared to be a tail fin of a plane sticking out of the water," said Erica Schietinger, whose office windows at Chelsea Piers look out over the Hudson. "All the boats have sort of circled the area. ... I can't tell what's what at this point."
(CNN) -- Two days before US Airways Flight 1549 crashed into the Hudson River, passengers on the same route and same aircraft say they heard a series of loud bangs and the flight crew told them they could have to make an emergency landing, CNN has learned.
Steve Jeffrey of Charlotte, North Carolina, told CNN he was flying in first class Tuesday when, about 20 minutes into the flight, "it sounded like the wing was just snapping off."
"The red lights started going on. A little pandemonium was going on," Jeffrey recalled.
He said the incident occurred over Newark, New Jersey, soon after the plane -- also flying as Flight 1549 -- had taken off from LaGuardia Airport in New York.
"It seemed so loud, like luggage was hitting the side but times a thousand. It startled everyone on the plane," Jeffrey said. "We started looking at each other. The stewardesses started running around. They made an announcement that 'everyone heard the noise, we're going to turn around and head back to LaGuardia and check out what happened.'
"I fly about 50 to 60 times per year, and I've never heard a noise so loud," he said. "It wasn't turbulence, it wasn't luggage bouncing around. It was just completely like the engine was thrown against the side of the plane. It just -- it didn't shake the plane but it shook you out of the seat when you're drifting off, it really woke you up. And when it happened again, everyone just started looking at each other and there was a quiet murmuring around the plane, and you could feel the tension rising just in looking.
"I remember turning to my [business] partner and saying, 'I hope you got everything in order back home, life insurance and everything, because that didn't sound good.' "
Jeffrey said he sent a text message to his wife about a "scary, scary noise on the plane. Doesn't sound right. They're flying back to LaGuardia to check it out. I'll call you when we land. I love you."
He added, "About 10 minutes later when we never made the turn, we kept going, that's when the pilot came on and explained -- I wish I could remember the words -- I remember him using air, compression and lock -- I'm not sure the right order, but he made it sound like the air didn't get to the engine and it stalled the engine out, which he said doesn't happen all the time but it's not abnormal."
Expert Aviation Consulting, an Indianapolis, Indiana, private consulting firm that includes commercial airline pilots on its staff, said the plane that landed in the Hudson was the same one as Flight 1549 from LaGuardia two days earlier. See images from the rescue in last week's crash »
"EAC confirms that US Airways ship number N106US flew on January 13, 2009, and January 15, 2009, with the same flight number of AWE 1549 from New York's LaGuardia Airport to Charlotte Douglas [International] Airport in North Carolina," Expert Aviation said in a statement to CNN.
The company said it checked with contacts in the aviation industry to confirm that it was the same plane.
The National Transportation Safety Board released the tail number of the downed Airbus A-320, which is N106US.
NTSB spokesman Peter Knudsen said as part of its investigation into the Hudson River crash, it will be looking at all maintenance activities, but has no indications of any anomalies or any malfunctions in the aircraft, so far in the investigation.
The Federal Aviation Administration referred CNN to US Airways.
US Airways would not confirm that the Flight 1549 that took off January 13 was the same plane that splashed into the Hudson two days later.
Valerie Wunder, a US Airways spokeswoman, said: "US Air is working with the National Transportation Safety Board in this investigation." She would not comment on any other details, including Tuesday's flight, though she did confirm US Airways is looking into it.
Jeffrey told CNN that US Airways earlier Monday confirmed to him that the Tuesday incident occurred aboard the plane that crashed.
John Hodock, another passenger on the Tuesday flight, said in an e-mail to CNN: "About 20 minutes after take-off, the plane had a series of compressor stalls on the right engine. There were several very loud bangs and fire coming out of the engine. The pilot at first told us that we were going to make an emergency landing, but after about five minutes, continued the flight to Charlotte."
In an interview, Hodock said the pilot "got on the intercom and said they were going to have to make an emergency landing at the nearest airport. But then, only five to 10 minutes later, the pilot came back on and said it was a stalled compressor and they were going to continue to Charlotte."
A third passenger, who did not want her named used, also said she heard a "loud banging sound" on the right side of the plane. She said she heard the pilot say the "compressor for the engine was stalled" and they needed "to turn around and go back." However, she said, the problem was fixed and the flight continued without incident.
Pilots and aviation officials said that a compressor stall results from insufficient air getting into the engine and that multiple stalls could result in engine damage. However, the officials said, a momentary compressor stall may be less serious and could be corrected in flight by simply restarting the engine.
A bird strike could lead to a compressor stall, the officials said.
NTSB investigator: US Airways probe to last a year
By LARRY NEUMEISTER, Associated Press Writer Larry Neumeister, Associated Press Writer – 1 hr 45 mins ago AP – The wreckage of US Airways Flight 1549 sits on a barge at Weeks Marina in Jersey City, N.J. on Monday, …
The probe into the crash-landing of a US Airways jetliner will take a year, and the lessons learned from the spectacular accident will last much longer, a senior investigator said Monday. "I think this one is going to be studied for decades," said Robert Benzon, chief investigator on the case for the National Transportation Safety Board.
Benzon said the fact that all 155 people aboard the plane survived removes the guilt and finger-pointing that sometimes accompany aviation accidents. He said lessons learned from the successful ditching into the Hudson River could improve air safety.
"In one like this, I think there's potential for a lot of good to come out of it, long-term good," he said.
The Airbus A320 that splashed down in the river Thursday was at a New Jersey salvage yard Monday, where it was being guarded by company workers, federal investigators and New York City police.
"I was surprised at how intact the plane was," said James Marchioni, a manager at Weeks Marine in Jersey City, N.J. "There were some bottom panels that were damaged. Other than that, it looked pretty good."
Marchioni said the NTSB estimated it would take "a week or two" to disassemble the plane so the parts can be shipped to an undisclosed location for closer examination.
The search for the plane's missing left engine was suspended until Tuesday because ice floes in the river made it too dangerous to put divers or special sonar equipment in the water.
Pilot Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger safely landed the plane in the frigid river after colliding with a flock of birds. The collision shut down both engines less than two minutes after takeoff.
President-elect Barack Obama said Monday he had spoken with the California pilot, who told him, "Me and my crew, we were just doing our job.'
"And it made me think, if everybody did their job — whatever that job was — as well as that pilot did his job, we'd be in pretty good shape," Obama said. Sullenberger, his crew and family were invited by Obama to attend Tuesday's inauguration.
The five-member crew including three flight attendants has been besieged for media interviews. The crew and the airline released separate statements Monday pleading for privacy.
The crew said they "wish to offer their sincere thanks and appreciation for the overwhelming support, praise and well wishes they have received from the public around the world since the events of last Thursday."
They said they are willing to do media interviews "when the time is right."
The airline said it was "extremely proud of the professional crew of Flight 1549," but said that it and union leaders would "determine when media interviews are appropriate."
The crew did speak with the NTSB, and Benzon said investigators would spend much time analyzing the crew's choices.
"The way the landing itself occurred, the thought process that went through the mind of the pilots and the flight attendants. It's interesting stuff for us," Benzon said. "It's going to take a while to go through it, but this one's going to go down as a classic."
Associated Press writers Ben Feller and Joan Lowy in Washington and Wayne Parry in New Jersey contributed to this report.
Great pilots. Most are good, some aren't. Don't even get me started...
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