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Plane crash in Hudson River becomes Charlotte story

In no time, the story of a Charlotte-bound plane crash landing in New York's Hudson River became a two-city story, reaching hundreds of miles south to the Carolinas.

Charlotte companies with employees on the plane frantically made calls to confirm they were safe.

Relatives or friends drove to Charlotte/Douglas International Airport to meet the plane, due in at 5:16 p.m., some not knowing it had crashed. Most of the passengers, 104 out of 155, were flying to Charlotte, without making connections, US Airways said.

An airline official said that some of the survivors are still expected to fly into Charlotte tonight.

Family members are at the airport to wait for them in a special area established by US Airways. Officials did not say how many passengers are expected to arrive, or how many relatives were at the airport to receive them.

John Erickson of Charlotte was working out on a treadmill in the Ballantyne area, when he saw the crash story on TV. "Like any Charlottean, when a US Airways plan is involved, you hope you don't know anybody on board," Erickson said.

He went home and told his wife to turn on the TV. Soon, he got a call from a neighbor whose husband was on the plane and had called her from a rescue ferry.

"He said he was wet and cold, but fine," Erickson said. "He called his wife from the ferry boat no more than 20 minutes after impact. He lost his cell phone and had to borrow one."

The neighbor, who didn't want to speak to reporters, had good news: "He thinks everyone should have been able to get off safely," Erickson said.

Liz Berretta of Weddington knew nothing of the crash when she was picking up her children at the schoolbus stop today and her cell phone rang.

It was husband, Fred, an investment banker at Bank of America who had gone to New York on bank business. He was flying home on flight 1549.

"I'm OK," was the first thing he told her.

Read the full story at charlotteobserver.com

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