Plane Blows Tire, Aborts Takeoff At Phila. International Airport
By Gabriella Sacidor and Diana Rocco
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A Fort Lauderdale-bound U.S. Airways flight aborted its takeoff Thursday night at Philadelphia International Airport.
U.S. Airways flight 1702, an Airbus 320, was taking off at about 6:05 p.m. when officials said a front tire blew out.
“Initial reports indicate Flight 1702 from Philadelphia to Fort Lauderdale blew a tire on takeoff and the pilot elected to abort takeoff,” said a spokesperson for U.S. Airways in a statement.
At the time of the incident, 149 passengers and five crew members, including two pilots and three flight attendants, were on board. The plane’s nose gear collapsed and it came to a rest just off the runway. Passengers evacuated the airplane on emergency slides.
WATCH: Aborted Flight Passengers Arrive In Ft. Lauderdale Friday Morning
“The plane went up, came back down a little bit the first time, then didn’t think much of it. Went up the second time, and then kind of felt loose and went straight back into the ground. Kind of sheer terror in everyone’s eyes,” passenger Will Jager said.
Jager explains what was going on inside the plane.
“Quite a bit of panic. Soon after we landed, smoke was coming out of the engine. The pilot ordered everyone to evacuate, then everyone got up, you know, ‘let me off the plane, let me off the plane first.’ But it was fairly orderly. We were in row 25, all the way back of the plane,” Jager said.
He added, “Then they put the slides down, which I guess are for getting out in water, so they didn’t exactly touch the ground, but the first few people to jump out in the back of the plane held them down, and helped everyone out the slide. Everyone made it out safely.”
“We put a protective foam blanket down around and underneath the aircraft due to hydraulic fluid that was leaking from the front landing gear. We removed the passengers and moved them approximately 400 yards off away from the airport into the field where we used our police vehicles, our fire department vehicles and the airport vehicles to surround the group and basically corral the passengers to protect them from the wind,” Chief Gary Loesch of the Philadelphia Fire Department said.
WATCH: WEB EXTRA: Officials Hold Press Conference on Plane Incident
Fire officials say the incident took about 50 minutes to bring under control.
“It was kind of surreal and didn’t really feel like it was actually happening, but after we hit the ground and everyone looked around and saw each other’s eyes, they knew something was wrong right away,” Jager said.
He added, “Luckily everyone appears to have been wearing their seat belt. We didn’t get thrown around too bad. Definitely a jolt on landing that we had to somewhat braced ourselves for. It could have been a lot worse.”
A ground stop was in effect at PHL for about two and a half hours.
The ground stop was later lifted around 8:20 p.m.
Two passengers are hospitalized, one with an illness, the other with a minor injury.
The passengers on the plane boarded a flight to Fort Lauderdale late Thursday night and landed there at about 2:30 a.m.
The FAA says an investigation is ongoing.