US aviation authorities on Thursday said the crash of an Airbus 320 in New York's Hudson River was an accident and may have been the result of a collision with birds.
"Right now we don't have any indication right now that this was anything other than an accident," the Federal Aviation Authority's Laura Brown told reporters.
She said there were preliminary reports that birds hit the plane, an Airbus flight 1549 flown by US Airways from La Guardia Airport in New York to Charlotte, North Carolina.
"There were reports of a large flock of birds in the area," she said, "but we don't have any indication that this was the cause."
FAA spokeswoman Diane Spitaliere said that accident investigators were leaving Washington for New York at 6:30 pm (2330 GMT) and would head straight to the wreckage of the plane.
The US Airways flight had 148 passengers and five or six crew, the FAA said. It crashed less than three minutes after take off, the FAA said.
"It made a left turn after take-off, crashed into the Hudson River, and we just got a preliminary report that everyone is off the aircraft," Brown said.
"It was airborne for less than three minutes after take-off."
Everyone got off the plane and were "believed" to be alive, Brown said.
"My understanding is that everyone is alive. I don't know if there any serious injuries or not," Brown said.
Spitaliere said "bird strikes do happen" and that "it is not uncommon for pilots to reports birds in the area."
There are "aggressive programs in place for that reason," she said.
Some airports use "cannons that go off periodically to scare the birds away. Some airports even use dogs. It just varies."