Friday, January 16, 2009

US Airways Flight 1549 Flight Attendants Successfully Evacuate All 150 Passengers

by B. N. Sullivan

US Airways Flight 1549 evacuationYesterday a US Airways A320 aircraft ditched in the icy waters of the Hudson River minutes after taking off from New York's LaGuardia Airport. The aircraft, operating as US Airways Flight 1549, had been en route to Charlotte, NC. The accident happened after bird strikes resulted in a loss of power to both of the aircraft's engines. There were no fatalities or life-threatening injuries among the five crew members and 150 passengers on board.

Much attention has been focused on the flight deck crew, and particularly the captain (and rightly so) for what appears to have been a truly remarkable water landing. However, the three flight attendants who immediately carried out the evacuation of all 150 passengers on board also deserve an enormous amount of credit for the excellent outcome of this accident. The flight attendants safely evacuated all on board in less than 90 seconds, after having virtually no warning that the aircraft was about to ditch in the river. Congratulations and praise are definitely in order for these flight attendants who made all of us so very proud!

"The flight attendants performed their safety duties in textbook fashion," said Mike Flores, President of the US Airways flight attendants' union. "Their years of experience and training made all the difference once the aircraft was in the water."

The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA-CWA), the union that represents the flight attendants of US Airways, will play an official role in the investigation of US Airways Flight 1549 headed by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). AFA-CWA will assist federal investigators in gathering information related to the policies and procedures followed during yesterday's emergency evacuation. AFA-CWA will support the NTSB to help determine what happened and identify potential safety improvements to better ensure accident survivability.

"As the representative of more than 55,000 aviation safety and security professionals, AFA-CWA has played an important role in NTSB investigations for decades," said AFA-CWA International President Patricia Friend. "We once again applaud the professionalism of our US Airways colleagues who demonstrated to the world the essential role flight attendants serve on the aircraft."

[Photo Source]

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