Diving and Dredging Companies Help Stabilize Downed Plane
A Randive diver, in yellow helmet, helping stabilize the Airbus A320 next to the seawall at Battery Park on the southern end of Manhattan Island.
Looking like a surfacing whale, the jet lolls against the seawall after divers secured it with slings.
Two Donjon cranes hold the plane up while a Randive diver, foreground, watches the operation.
All 155 passengers and crew were rescued by a flotilla of emergency vessels and ferry boats soon after the plane hit the water, and the Coast Guard then began concentrating on keeping it afloat.
Randive Operations Manager Kurt Erlandson told IDR “We were on scene 15 minutes after it happened as we had a crew and dive support vessel working in Jersey City when the incident occurred. We were requested to stand by and assist as needed by the command center and (Coast Guard Vessel Traffic Services). Randive was then contracted by Donjon Marine to assist with stabilizing the aircraft as requested by the United States Coast Guard. We were on scene until Weeks Marine was sub-contracted for the actual salvage by (prime contractor J. Supor & Son Trucking & Rigging Co., Inc.)”
By Monday, January 19, Weeks had loaded the plane onto a barge and moved it to their yard in Jersey City.
Randive, is headquartered in Perth Amboy, New Jersey. J. Supor & Son Trucking & Rigging Co., Inc., Kearny, New Jersey is an expert in aircraft recovery who was hired by AIG, insurance company for U.S. Airways to salvage the plane.
The Corps of Engineers debris collection vessel Hayward, which has a 20-ton crane on board, helped stabilize the plane in mid-river, and provided slings that were placed under the wings to keep the plane afloat next to the seawall at Battery Park City. The Corps survey vessel Moritz was deployed to look for the engines near where the plane crashed, but by Saturday, January 17, the river was 30 percent filled with ice floes, preventing the Moritz from working any longer. When the plane was lifted from the water, it was discovered that only the left hand engine had fallen off, and the search for it continues.
The crash happened almost exactly a year after the orange juice tanker Orange Sun veered into the dredge New York in nearby Newark Bay, putting a large gash in the hull. That accident happened on January 24, 2008.
Randive used heroic measures to make an emergency repair of the hole, enabling the water to be pumped out and the dredge floated to drydock. (See IDR, January/February 2008, “Randive Performs Emergency Repairs on New York after Collision”)