(CNN) -- By many eyewitness accounts, when US Airways flight 1549 crashed into the Hudson River, it looked like a completely normal landing -- except it was in the water.
iReporters captured the plane's crash-landing and rescue operations
"It looked like a perfectly smooth landing, nothing out of the ordinary," said Lou Romansky, who was stuck in traffic and saw the plane go down. "No unusual noises, no flames, no nothing. It was very graceful; [I] saw the nose go up."
Josefina Echevarria happened to be standing near the window of her Manhattan office, and reports seeing a similar scene. "I saw an airplane landing in the middle of the water, but very calm," she said.
"It wasn't a nose dive," added Joe Harrington, who also saw the crash out his window. "It looked like it was a landing."
The plane, which carried more than 150 passengers and was bound for Charlotte, North Carolina, went down Thursday afternoon shortly after taking off from LaGuardia Airport. Officials say everyone on board apparently got off the plane alive. Some passengers were being treated for hypothermia and other minor injuries.
And according to many iReporters, who described the situation to CNN as it unfolded, the rescue operation looked as smooth as the landing -- but, of course, just as scary. They say ferries arrived first on the scene, followed quickly by emergency boats and helicopters.
"Immediately there were ferries on the scene," said Harrington. "Almost instantaneous. I watch these ferries all day -- they don't normally go this fast." Police boats and helicopters arrived shortly after, he said.
Julie Pukelis also saw the ferries arrive.
"It seemed very quick. ... Ferry boats out there within minutes," she said. "I think it was a great team effort." iReport.com: "We watched the plane drifting slowly down the water"
"[The rescue] looked pretty well-organized from what I could see," said Jim Davidson, who lives two blocks from the Hudson River. "It wasn't chaos -- a lot of times when things like this happen, people are running around or yelling." iReport.com: A panorama of the rescue
Daniel Leal described the scene as the rescue operation continued into the evening. "I'm seeing flashing lights on the water from the many rescue vehicles -- tug boats, ferries, helicopters. ...There seems to be even more emergency crews in the water and hovering above than an hour ago," he said. iReport.com: Watching the rescue
iReporters said the plane began to sink shortly after landing until workers used ropes to secure it.
"A few minutes [after the crash] it started sinking in the water," said Echevarria. "Five minutes later the airplane was completely sunk. You can only see the tail of the plane."
Lisa Speransky, who also watched the situation from her office window, says workers appeared to tether the plane to boats to prevent it sinking. Watch how iReporters helped cover the story »
"They must have gotten a rope around the plane at some point, because they were turning it around and dragging it towards New Jersey," she wrote in an email. After passengers were evacuated, workers eventually tethered the plane to a pier on the Hudson River. iReport.com: "You could see people standing on the wing"
The crash brought up memories of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks for several iReporters as they saw the crash and its aftermath. Officials emphasize the crash had absolutely no terrorist connection and say it was likely a bird strike.
"I really thought it was a terrorist attack," said Romansky. He lives in New Jersey but was in Manhattan when the plane went down, and said his first thought after seeing the plane go down was to get back home, thinking that the state's border might be closed in case of terrorism. iReport.com: "I saw the plane coming down"
Matt Moore, who says he saw about 40 boats surrounding the plane in the water, had similar unnerving thoughts.
"What's peculiar is I look to my left and there's where the World Trade Center used to be and I look to my right and there's a plane in the water," he said. iReport.com: Saw the rescue out the window
Harrington was also shaken up by the situation. "It was surreal to see that happen," he said. "I fly pretty much every week for work."