US Airways Flight 1549 was an Airbus A320-214 scheduled domestic commercial passenger flight from LaGuardia Airport in New York City that, on January 15, 2009, struck a flock of Canada Geese during its initial climb out, lost engine power, and ditched in the Hudson River off midtown Manhattan with no loss of life. The destination for the flight had been to Charlotte/Douglas International Airport, Charlotte, North Carolina, and onward to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in SeaTac, Washington.
The bird strike, which occurred just northeast of the George Washington Bridge about three minutes into the flight, resulted in the rapid loss of thrust from both engines. When the crew of the aircraft determined that they would be unable to reliably reach any airfield, they turned southbound and glided over the Hudson, finally ditching the airliner near the USS Intrepid museum about three minutes after losing power. All 155 occupants safely evacuated the airliner, which was still virtually intact though partially submerged and slowly sinking, and were quickly rescued by nearby ferries and other watercraft. The incident became known as the “Miracle on the Hudson”.
The NTSB concluded its investigation on May 4, 2010. It determined the probable cause of the accident to be “the ingestion of large birds into each engine, which resulted in an almost total loss of thrust in both engines”. The accompanying statement credited the accident outcome to the fact that the aircraft was carrying safety equipment in excess of that mandated for the flight, and excellent cockpit resource management among the flight crew. Contributing factors were the good visibility and fast response from the various ferry operators. Captain Sullenberger’s decision to ditch in the Hudson River was validated by the NTSB. The final report was published on May 28.