The Hudson River Landing

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I was pretty surprised to hear about the successful A320 landing in the Hudson. My impression had always been that water landings generally weren't survivable, and the whole "your seat cushion can server as a flotation device" thing was theater, but apparently not:

In all cases where a passenger plane has undergone an intentional water landing or ditching, some or all of the occupants have survived. Examples of water landings in which passengers survived after a planned and intentional water landing after an in-flight emergency are:
And then goes on to list a bunch of them.

A number of these incidents (e.g., knee-deep water) seem like you probably don't need your life jacket, but others seem like some sort of flotation device would be in order. Here's one example:

The aircraft remained relatively intact after the water landing, but sank after the accident in about 5,000 feet of water, and was never recovered. The accident resulted in 23 fatalities and 37 injuries, with three additional uninjured survivors. Both pilots survived. The injured survivors waited for hours in the water to be rescued.

I'm a pretty good swimmer, but I don't think I'd want to jump out of a potentially burning plane and then have to tread water for hours until being picked up by helicopter.

þ James Wimberley pointed out that the Wikipedia page on survival of water landings.


Putting it down on the water is a "landing"? :-)

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