Data from NYHOPS assists rescue efforts in Flight 1549 emergency

Jan 21, 2009

With its unique location along the western bank of the Hudson River, Stevens Institute of Technology provided a dramatic front row venue for the emergency landing and successful rescue of U.S. Airways Flight 1549.

While emergency workers and ferryboat operators worked quickly to pluck the 150 passengers from the water's surface, Dr. Alan Blumberg, director of the Center for Maritime Systems at Stevens, was monitoring the situation under the Hudson River.

Using Stevens' New York Harbor Observation and Prediction System (NYHOPS), which gives a real-time assessment of ocean, weather, environmental, and vessel traffic conditions for various New York Metropolitan area waterways, Blumberg was able to give the New York Office of Emergency Management (OEM) accurate information that helped rescue workers on the scene.

Within minutes of the crash Dr. Blumberg and his colleague Nickitas Georgas, prepared a detailed summary of the present water conditions in the Hudson River surrounding the crash site and a forecast of conditions for the next 48 hours. The summary was based on the extensive suite of ocean sensors and forecast models that have been operational in the waters of New York and New Jersey over the past 10 years.

Blumberg then reached out to the OEM Watch Commander, Michael Lee, with information such as water temperature, speed, surface conditions and tide flow. Mr. Lee was able to forward the data to the scene.

"Nobody else had this extremely important information to aid in the rescue," said Lee. "As always, we are very appreciative of Dr. Blumberg's continued assistance and support."

Officials heeded Blumberg's suggestion to deploy rescue assets downstream, not upstream, along Manhattan and to guide the plane eastward to the Battery area for salvage operations. Since the Battery has the weakest currents in this very energetic current environment, it was the easiest area to try and salvage the plane.

In the days following the crash, Stevens provided around the clock on-call assistance to the various emergency agencies including the NTSB in order to assist with the salvage operations.

"As an educational institution, we strive to learn more from these types of incidences; with this crash, we learned that miracles occur when ordinary citizens are present and act with skill, courage, training, experience, and teamwork," said Blumberg. "A bit of luck helps too. Agencies that had the foresight to fund our observation and forecast modeling work made it possible for us to be 'present in the moment - being aware of what is going on right here and now.'"

Additional information and real-time data from NYHOPS may be found at: www.stevens.edu/maritimeforecast/

Source: Stevens Institute of Technology

Explore further: Radioisotope studies show the continental crust formed 3 billion years ago

Related Stories

Russia loses control of unmanned spacecraft (Update)

Apr 29, 2015

Russia said Wednesday it had lost control of an unmanned spacecraft taking supplies to the International Space Station and it is plunging back to Earth but is likely to burn up in the atmosphere.

Twitter as a flood rescue tool

Apr 14, 2015

As a social networking tool used by millions, Twitter can be a great help in disaster operations, said researchers Tuesday who created real-time flood maps using data from tweets.

Produce more flexibly with the Industry Cockpit

Apr 09, 2015

Customers expect products to be tailored to their needs. And not only that: they want to influence the way the product is manufactured as well. As a result, very flexible manufacturing and administrative ...

Design boost for lifeboats

Apr 08, 2015

The approach to the design of all-weather lifeboats is set for a re-evaluation as part of a major study being led by Newcastle University and the RNLI, with support from Lloyds' Register.

Recommended for you

ESA image: Northwest Sardinia

14 hours ago

This image over part of the Italian island of Sardinia comes from the very first acquisition by the Sentinel-2A satellite.

Experiments open window on landscape formation

Jul 02, 2015

University of Oregon geologists have seen ridges and valleys form in real time and—even though the work was a fast-forwarded operation done in a laboratory setting—they now have an idea of how climate ...

NASA image: Canadian wildfires continue

Jul 02, 2015

Canada is reeling from an early fire season this year as dozens of fires ravage at least three provinces of the country. All of the following reports are as of July 2, 2015.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.