A320 on the Hudson

A320 on the Hudson

The Sully movie (based on the book) is out in just over a week which prompted me to read the NTSB air accident report (warning, nearly 200 pages long). In university I used to read these things all the time for some reason.

There are some interesting things in there. Here’s the map of passenger evacuations:

Passenger evacuations of US1549

Passenger evacuations of US1549

I’ve modified it from the vertical image in the NTSB report. Nobody goes out the back as it was flooding. Most people go for the nearest exit apart from at the back. First, there was that water coming in the back and secondly crowding at the over-wing exits blocked them. Crew told people to skip to the front, by climbing over seats.

Interestingly, and by chance it seems, the aircraft was equipped for flight over water. Most people didn’t grab seat cushions, and a lot of them couldn’t get the life vest on. Nine people fell in the water.

I’m not sure if that includes the first person out the L1 door (the one you get on the plane through typically). That person jumped straight in to the water and that slide took ~20 seconds or so to begin inflating.

The water was just above freezing and the survivability for that is measured in single-digit minutes for your average human.

The slides are designed to hold 55 people absolute max. The aft slides were out of action so that leaves 110 spots for 155 people on board. They could use the over-wing evacuation slides for flotation right? You’d think so, but not quite. They’re attached to the airframe and would have sunk with it. One of the recommendations of the report is to fix that.

Everyone was off within ~20 minutes of the forced water landing. Injuries? Only a few.

Brace, brace, brace

Brace, brace, brace

The recommended brace position put peoples arms up on the seat in front of them. On landing everyone is thrown forward and a couple of peoples arms suddenly had to take the load of them at impact deceleration plus, presumably, some load from passengers behind them. Their arm went up in to their shoulder and broke it. Apparently two passengers had very similar fractures as a result.

As an aside, if you look around there’s not a whole lot of good information on what to do for brace position. Other than not be in a crash, of course.

One flight attendant had a nasty gash on the leg when a beam apparently broke through the floor but didn’t notice it until off the aircraft.

Apparently the NTSB sensor transcripts:

I’m gonna just call this guy directly cause I don’t think this OPS guy knows what the # he’s doin.

This is mentioned on the ground way before anything bad happens. It happens again later as you might expect. As ever in these things, everything is remarkably normal until it suddenly isn’t.

You can read the book and here’s that movie trailer: