NTSB Update On Hudson River Ditching: Feather Found

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The NTSB on Wednesday afternoon released new factual information in connection with its continuing investigation of US Airways Flight 1549, the Airbus 320 that ditched into the Hudson River in New York on Jan. 15. Factual updates from the board are generally considered preliminary information and no conclusions are drawn from the findings. The right engine has been externally examined and documented, the safety board said. An examination of the first-stage fan blades revealed evidence of soft body impact damage. Three of the variable guide vanes are fractured and two are missing. The engine's electronic control unit is missing and numerous internal components of the engine were significantly damaged. What appears to be organic material was found in the right engine and on the wings and fuselage. Samples of the material have been provided to the U.S. Department of Agriculture for a complete DNA analysis. A single feather was found attached to a flap track on the wing. It is being sent to bird identification experts at the Smithsonian. The left engine has been located in about 50 feet of water near the area of the Hudson River where the aircraft ditched. The NTSB is working with federal, state and local agencies to recover the engine, which is expected to occur sometime on Thursday.

The NTSB also learned that the right engine experienced a surge during a flight on Jan. 13, and a temperature probe was subsequently replaced. The NTSB's Survival Factors group is interviewing passengers to learn more about the events surrounding the ditching and the emergency evacuation and rescue, and the Operations and Human Performance group is interviewing US Airways flight operations training personnel. The on-scene documentation of the airplane is expected to be completed by the end of the week. The aircraft will then be moved to a more permanent storage site where more detailed documentation of the damage can be performed at a later date.