By Todd Quinones
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Passengers tell CBS 3 the plane had been cleared for take off. It was heading down the runway when it felt like nose of that plane was actually lifted off into the air. Then suddenly the nose of the plane came down and the plane started skidding right across the runway.
Dramatic video captures the chaotic moments as passengers used inflatable chutes to get off U.S. Airways flight 1702 – 149 passengers and five crew on board the Airbus 320 were bound for Fort Lauderdale, Florida, when the tire of the front landing gear blew and the pilot aborted the take off.
Eyewitness News talked to several passengers who were on board the plane.
“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.
“The second we went up it came crashing down and it was like — everyone started screaming,” passenger Tiffany Yarnell said.
“Bumpy and then we noticed we were going back down and then stopped and, you know, you felt the smoke, and they said evacuate the plane,” passenger Tiffany Dibucci said.
David Gray was just landing on a flight from Detroit when he saw the plane skidding across the runway.
“We were taxiing and the guy next to me said I can see a plane crashing. And of course naturally you think the guy next to you is making it up, and when you look out the window… I saw what I thought was sparks then I saw a large cloud of dust,” Gray said.
It was around 6:05 p.m. Thursday evening when emergency personnel were alerted something went wrong.
“Something going on on the runway here.”
“Cancel takeoff clearance and just hold the position.”
“It’s really tough to tell. I see smoke down there. Are you still on the runway.”
“We’re going to dispatch the emergency vehicles.”
Risa Silverman’s 23-year-old daughter Rachel was on board. She came to the airport after her daughter called her and frantically told her mom what happened.
“She said she smelled a lot of gas and she was very nervous and she was afraid the plane was going to explode and they said finally you can evacuate and then she said she just went down the chute and ran,” she said.
Accommodations are being made to get several passengers on to another flight to Fort Lauderdale, Florida for those passengers who still want to fly tonight.