NTSB: US Airways jet's engines lost power together

NEW YORK (AP) - The flight data recorder of the US Airways jetthat landed in the Hudson River shows both engines lost powersimultaneously, investigators said Sunday.

Information from the flight recorders on the doomed aircraft wasreleased as investigators worked to remove its fuel. After that iscompleted, officials hope to move the damaged plane off the riverby the end of the day.

"Defueling is a pretty intricate operation, not without risk,"Kitty Higgins of the National Transportation Safety Board said atan afternoon briefing on the investigation.

The crippled plane, hoisted from the river late Saturday,remains on top of a barge moored to a seawall in Manhattan a fewblocks from the World Trade Center site.

Higgins said the recorders showed that Flight 1549 reached amaximum altitude of 3,200 feet before losing power simultaneouslyin both engines before its splash-landing Thursday afternoon.

Higgins recounted excerpts from communications captured by thecockpit voice recorder beginning 90 seconds after takeoff, when thecaptain made a remark to the co-pilot about birds.

One second later, she said, "the sound of thumps and a rapiddecrease in engine sounds" could be heard.

"The captain makes a radio call to (Air Traffic Control)calling Mayday, and reports that they hit birds, lost both enginesand were returning to LaGuardia" Airport, she said.

Higgins said the accounts on the cockpit voice recorder wereconsistent with interviews with the flight crew. She also praisedthe crew.

"Miracles happen because a lot of everyday things happen foryears and years and years," she said. "These people knew whatthey were supposed to do and they did it and as a result, nobodylost their life."

Higgins also said ice floes in the Hudson were hampering thesearch for the left engine, which separated from the aircraft andsank to the bottom of the river.

"The concern is... even putting down the sonar equipment andthe rove vehicle, they would be damaged by the ice. It's toodangerous for a diver," she said.

Officials have refused to say where in New Jersey the planewould be taken when it is towed away, saying investigators wantedto do their work undisturbed.

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