MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – Some of the 126 people who were aboard an MD-82 jetliner that caught on fire on Tuesday during a rough landing at Miami International Airport said they feared for their lives.
Paola Garcia said she knew something was wrong when the plane she boarded in the Dominican Republic began to move from side to side. She saw windows crack.
Yamil Elneser said the plane was shaking. Garcia said she saw a wing on fire. They felt like the plane landed without wheels before it spun off the runway.
“I feel alive again. I thought I was going to die,” Garcia said.
The Federal Aviation Administration later reported the plane’s landing gear had collapsed.
The passengers evacuated down a slide as smoke billowed. Three of the 126 people aboard the RED Air SRL 203 arriving from the Dominican Republic suffered minor injuries, according to Greg Chin, a spokesman for the Miami-Dade Aviation Department.
“We saw smoke and flames and we got out of the plane through the emergency exit on the window, on top of the wings, and then from the wing, down,” Alfredo Machado told ABC News.
Miami-Dade firefighters arrived to find the plane’s wing on fire. Buses at the airport took the passengers to a terminal where some were reunited with loved ones. There were hugs.
The National Transportation Safety Board reported a federal team will continue to investigate on Wednesday.
Related social media
Red Air #203 from Santo Domingo had its landing gear in the nose of the plane collapse, which seems to have caused a fire. @MiamiDadeFire responded & extinguished the fire. Some flights have been delayed as a result. Please follow up with your airline for the latest flight info. pic.twitter.com/06Vs8WuqIB— Miami Int'l Airport (@iflymia) June 21, 2022
NTSB is sending a team of investigators to Miami following today's gear collapse and runway excursion of an MD-82 jetliner at Miami International Airport. Investigators will arrive on scene tomorrow.— NTSB Newsroom (@NTSB_Newsroom) June 21, 2022
#MDFR is on scene of an aircraft fire at @iflyMIA. Fire crews have placed the fire under control and are mitigating fuel spillage. All souls on board have been assessed for injuries. A total of 3 patients have been transported to local area hospitals. pic.twitter.com/hMP68ncJ4s— Miami-Dade Fire Rescue (@MiamiDadeFire) June 21, 2022
A plane arriving at @iflyMIA from Santo Domingo, DR caught on fire following a landing gear malfunction. I have just arrived on the scene and am being briefed by @MiamiDadeFire.— Daniella Levine Cava (@MayorDaniella) June 22, 2022
Three passengers were transported to the hospital with minor injuries. pic.twitter.com/VblnGmdLhq
Local 10 News Assignment Desk Editor Emily Hales contributed to this report.