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Hudson plane crew invited to Obama's inauguration

world Updated: Jan 19, 2009 21:09 IST

The five crew members of a US Airways jet that safely ditched in New York's Hudson River have been invited to president-elect Barack Obama's inauguration, a spokeswoman said on Monday.

Chief pilot Chesley Sullenberger -- praised by Obama for his "heroic" conduct -- and the rest of his crew have been invited to attend Tuesday's historic celebration in Washington, Obama spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.

Obama telephoned Sullenberger on Friday, a day after all 150 passengers on US Airways flight 1549 escaped alive and were able to step out of the plane into rescue boats on the icy Hudson River.

"The president-elect told Captain Sullenberger how proud everyone was for the heroic and graceful job he had done in landing the damaged aircraft yesterday," incoming White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said then.

"The president-elect also thanked his crew and the many people on the scene in New York for ensuring the safety of everyone on board the plane."

Tributes have flowed for Sullenberger, including from President George W. Bush, and he has been awarded the keys to New York City.