Speedy Rescue Team Saved Everyone

Commuter ferries, private boats helped save passengers
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 16, 2009 3:01 AM CST

(Newser) – Swift action from a small army of volunteer and working rescuers is credited with saving the lives of everybody on board US Airways Flight 1549, the New York Times reports. Within minutes of the plane hitting the Hudson river, ferries, cruise boats and conventional rescue boats converged on the scene to quickly pluck passengers to safety from the wings of the slowly sinking jet.

New York and New Jersey's ferries were the first on the scene and commuters helped pull passengers aboard. Rescuers dove into the icy waters from police helicopters to save passengers who would otherwise have perished within minutes, while a Fire Department crew scrambled to tether the plane and stop it from floating down river toward the sea.