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Possible bird remains found in jet's engine

Thursday, January 22, 2009

WASHINGTON -- Investigators said Wednesday they have found the remains of what may be a bird in the engine of the US Airways jet that landed in New York's Hudson River.

The National Transportation Safety Board said an examination of the Airbus 320's right engine revealed evidence of "soft body damage" and that "organic material" was found in the engine and on the wings and fuselage. Samples of the material have gone to the Agriculture Department for a complete DNA analysis, the board said.

A single feather was found attached to a flap track on the wing and will be examined by experts at the Smithsonian Institution.

The pilot of Flight 1549, Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger, reported a "double bird strike" and a loss of power in both engines before gliding the plane to an emergency river landing last week. All 155 people on board the flight to Charlotte, N.C., survived.

The board also reported Wednesday that divers located the airliner's left engine in about 50 feet of water near the area of the river where the aircraft ditched. The board predicted the engine would be recovered today.

New York Police Department and New Jersey State Police harbor officers working with a sonar expert from the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration got a reading Tuesday of an object 16 feet long and 8 feet wide near the spot where Flight 1549 made its emergency landing.

Divers went into the icy, murky water and located the left engine in about 10 minutes, NYPD spokesman Paul Browne said.

Investigators want to inspect the engine to better understand how it stopped running after the plane hit a flock of birds shortly after taking off from LaGuardia Airport. Most of the Airbus A320 is at a New Jersey marina, where investigators will study it.

Police already located several pieces of debris from the flight, including 35 flotation seat cushions, 12 life jackets, 15 pieces of luggage, two briefcases, 11 purses, 15 suit jackets and shirts, four shoes and two hats, Browne said.


Associated Press Airlines Writer Harry R. Weber in Atlanta, AP writers Colleen Long and Tom Hays in New York and AP writer David Porter in Trenton, N.J., contributed to this report.


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