BREAKING NEWS

US Airways Untold Story

Jan. 16 2009, Published 12:39 p.m. ET

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(Photo: Splash News Online) Based in downtown New York, the staff of Radaronline.com watched as US Airways Flight 1549 pinwheeled along the Hudson River yesterday, surrounded by ferries and marine response units. As we watched it unfold, there was a whispered concern among several first responders, something that was not reported in the media.

The aircraft was still loaded with fuel and until nearly 5 p.m. -- roughly 90 minutes after it went down following a LaGuardia airport takeoff en route to Charlotte, North Carolina -- the Airbus A320 was in the control of the fast-moving currents, and no one was certain they could prevent the downed aircraft from hitting the New York shore and exploding.

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"Obviously, fire was not a concern because it was in the water," one of them told Radaronline. "But a single explosion could have had a serious impact on the river and sent debris in all directions."

This was of particular concern as the plane scudded toward Battery Park where the Hudson Tunnel runs under the river, carrying passenger trains and cars to New Jersey.

The aircraft came down in just 54 feet of water, and the river is some 10 feet shallower in that region.

Fortunately, there were enough boats and lines on the plane to bring it safely to rest beside a residential block, which is where Radaronline reader Erika Rayman was when she snapped these photos!

(Photo: Erika Rayman)

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