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Hudson Miracle: Transcript of 911 calls

January 17, 2009 2:10:37 PM PST
The man looked up to the sky from his street in the Bronx and provided a glimpse of the drama unfolding on Flight 1549 with his first words to the 911 dispatcher. "Yeah I'm witnessing an airplane. It's going down. It's on fire," the caller said.

He went on to describe to the dispatcher in greater detail what he had just seen above him: "Oh my God! It was a big plane, I heard a big boom just now, we looked up, and the plane came straight over us, and it was turning, Oh my God!"

Authorities released the transcript of the conversation Saturday along with that of a second 911 call that occurred just after the US Airways Airbus A320 crash-landed into the Hudson River on Thursday.

The calls offer a hint of the turmoil that the pilots were facing after the jet was disabled by birds just after taking off at LaGuardia Airport at 3:26 p.m. The plane proceeded north over the Bronx before heading west and down the Hudson.

Investigators are still trying to figure out what caused the malfunction, and have said that they want to talk to witnesses - like the 911 callers - to help reconstruct the flight.

The first caller phoned 911 at 3:29 p.m.

"As soon as I called you the plane disappeared out of sight. I guess it took off over the building I can't see," the man said, his frantic observations punctuated by his heavy New York accent.

"Was it a large or small plane or what?" the operator asked.

"It looked like it looked like an Airbus plane, like a big plane," the caller said.

Four minutes later - at 3:33 p.m. - a woman called in from Manhattan to report the plane had hit the water.

"Yes, a-a-a plane had just crashed into the Hudson River," she said. "A US Air big DC 9 or 10 has crashed into the Hudson River, about ... in ... Oh my gosh!"

The woman told the dispatcher the plane is down in the water near midtown Manhattan somewhere near the 40s or 50s.

Ferries and emergency crews sped to the scene moments later.

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