IBM Worker Survives US Airways River Crash

"We're going to have to get her a new laptop; hers is waterlogged," says company spokesman.

Paul McDougall

January 16, 2009

2 Min Read
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A senior IBM sales rep survived Thursday's crash of a US Airways jet into the Hudson River and "is doing well," a company spokesman said Friday.

Freida Muscatell boarded US Airways flight 1549 from New York City's LaGuardia Airport in order to return to her base in Charlotte, N.C., where IBM maintains a number of offices.

Muscatell, who identifies herself on a business networking site as a senior sales specialist in IBM's Information Management group, was the only Big Blue employee on the flight, according to the company spokesman.

Some companies place limits on the number of employees that can travel together in order to minimize corporate risk in the event of an accident. IBM's spokesman declined to discuss the company's policy on the matter.

Muscatell described her harrowing experience to a local North Carolina newspaper. "I prayed I could see my children again. I thought we were all going to die," Muscatell told the Gaston Gazette. "I feel like it's a miracle that we're alive," she said.

IBM's spokesman said Muscatell's fellow IBMers are relieved that she came through the ordeal unscathed. "We're going to have to get her a new laptop; hers is waterlogged," he joked.

The US Airways plane, an Airbus A320, was carrying 150 passengers and a crew of five when it crash-landed into the Hudson River off Manhattan shortly after takeoff on Thursday afternoon. Within minutes, ferries and other vessels that routinely ply the busy waterway steamed to the aid of passengers, all of whom survived.

Some media reports said the aircraft's engines were disabled by a bird strike, but authorities haven't confirmed that. Local temperatures were in the high teens at the time of the incident.

The crash is being investigated by the National Transportation Safety Board, a process that could take several months.

About the Author(s)

Paul McDougall

Editor At Large, InformationWeek

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