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Abstract: On January 15, 2009, shortly after takeoff from LaGuardia Airport, US Airways Flight 1549 struck a flock of Canada geese. The geese were then sucked into the plane's twin engines, causing total engine failure and the loss of power. Case A of this three-part series recounts how over the following four minutes, Flight 1549's Captain Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger and First Officer Jeffrey Skiles grappled with a variety of extreme challenges. Not only did they have to keep the plane under control, but they also had to quickly decide whether they could make an emergency landing at a nearby airport or find another alternative to get the plane down safely in one of the most crowded regions in the country. Cases B and C then describe how, after the plane landed in the cold waters of the Hudson River, emergency responders from many agencies and private organizations--converging on the scene without a prior action plan for this type of emergency--scrambled to both rescue passengers and crew and stabilize the aircraft as it began to move downstream.
Learning Objective: This case prompts readers to consider the challenges of responding to a sudden crisis involving intense pressure and significant uncertainty. By highlighting the actions the captain and crew of US Airways Flight 1549 took following the failure of the planes two engines. Cases B and C illustrate the complexities of coordinating a multi-organizational response involving actors from a range of public agencies and private sector partners.