Diving and Dredging Companies Help Stabilize Downed Plane
The Randive support vessel Becky Ann (upper left), observes the plane after divers have attached slings and stabilized it against the seawall at Battery Park in lower Manhattan. Randive Diving Services was nearby when the U.S. Airways plane crashed into the Hudson River on January 15, and performed the first stabilization procedures, under the supervision of Robert Ross, along with vessels and crew from Donjon Marine. The next day, Weeks Marine was retained by the insurance company to salvage the plane.
The diver has reached the plane and is continuing to look for a method of attaching lifting slings. Photo courtesy of Randive.
A Randive diver (yellow helmet) approaches the plane from the support vessel Becky Ann to assess how to attach slings for lifting the plane onto a barge. Donjon cranes are holding the plane up. Photo courtesy of Randive
The Corps New York District sent the boats to help stabilize the plane in the river. The Hayward provided slings to keep the plane afloat next to the seawall, and the Moritz survey boat sounded for the missing engine until the river filled with ice. Phot
Weeks heavy lift cranes have moved in several days after the incident to move the plane onto a barge for transportation to their Jersey City, New Jersey yard, where NSTB officials began their examination and investigation. By this time ice floes have fil
Weeks Marine was later subcontracted to retrieve the plane from the water.
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. Prime prime contractor for the salvage was J. Supor & Son Trucking & Rigging Co., Inc.”
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.
By Monday, January 19, Weeks had loaded the plane onto a barge and moved it to their yard in Jersey City.
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 by New York Police Department boats continued until the engine was located in 50 feet of water on January 21, and recovered from the river on January 23. The engine was shipped to the manufacturer in Cincinnati where the National Transportation Security Board (NTSB) found bird remains in the engine during a tear-down. The organic material found in the right (#2) engine has also been confirmed to be bird remains. The material from both engines has been sent to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington where the particular bird species will be identified.
The last week of January, the aircraft was moved from the Weeks Marine barge where it had been docked in Jersey City, New Jersey, to a secure salvage yard in Kearny, New Jersey, where it will remain throughout the NTSB investigation, which is expected to last 12 to 18 months.
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”)