Sullenberger said after the crash that he made a split-second decision to land in the river instead of risking a "catastrophic" crash in a populated area on either bank.

Pulled out of water

The aircraft was lifted by crane from the Hudson at the southern tip of Manhattan.

Its shredded underbelly could be seen and pieces of metal from the jet fell as it was moved to ground.

Dozens of onlookers took pictures of the wreckage, whose damaged right engine was clearly visible.

Divers were still searching for the left engine, using sonar equipment as assistance.

It was not immediately said where the aircraft would be taken.

'Primary targets'

Radar data has confirmed that the aircraft crossed the path of a group of "primary targets", almost certainly birds, as the Airbus A320 rose over the Bronx after taking off, the National Transportation Safety Board said.

Flight 1549 was en route to Charlotte, North Carolina, when the crash occurred.

The jet initially sank up to its windows.

Rescuers using coast guard vessels and ferries opened the door and pulled passengers out.

Temperatures were at about -6.7C, one of the coldest days of the year.