Coast Guard suspends aircraft search and rescue operations

NEW YORK- The Coast Guard suspended search and rescue operations for the downed U.S. Airways plane after all passengers were reported accounted for around 8 p.m., Jan. 16, 2009.

The Coast Guard is enforcing a security zone around the plane, which is now located at Battery Park City, N.Y.

The Coast Guard launched a multi-asset response yesterday when the plane plunged into the Hudson River, at approximately 3:30 p.m.

Upon initial notification, Coast Guard Sector New York launched a fleet of small rescue boats and the 87-foot Coast Guard Cutter Ridley, based in Montauk, was diverted to the scene. Once on scene, the crews rendered assistance and distributed life jackets.

A joint effort between New York City Fire and Police water assets were effective in coordinating first responder efforts. Among the many Good Samaritans New York Waterways and Circle Line ferries worked closely to transfer passengers and crew to shore side units, which consisted of New York City Police, Fire departments, and EMS crews.

Three helicopters from Air Station Atlantic City, N.J., and one from Air Station Cape Cod, Mass., worked closely with New York City Police air assets to provide aerial support.

“The Coast Guard along with state, local and federal agencies worked together in a harsh climate to rescue all of the passengers as quickly and safely as possible,” said Captain Robert O’Brien, Commander, Coast Guard Sector New York.

A salvage team is en route to begin work on removing the plane from the water.

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