MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – In the aftermath of a plane’s fiery landing, aviation authorities were asking Miami International Airport fliers to check with airlines for changes on flights.
Fliers should expect delays. The airport has two out of four runways closed. According to the Miami-Dade Aviation Department, the aircraft will be lifted by a crane onto a flatbed vehicle to be relocated as soon as Friday. Then the runways will re-open.
About 79% of arriving flights and about 75% of departures were on schedule Wednesday despite the lack of operational capacity, according to the aviation department.
A contractor still had to remove all of the fuel from the MD-82 jetliner — that caught on fire Tuesday at MIA while operating as RED Air flight 203 ― before federal investigators move it to another site for examination.
The National Transportation Safety Board personnel plan to deliver the plane’s cockpit voice recorder and the flight data recorder on Thursday to the agency’s laboratory in Washington for examination.
According to NTSB, 130 passengers and 10 crew members boarded the M-82 jetliner in the Dominican Republic, and during landing, at MIA’s runway 9 the plane’s left main landing gear collapsed.
Paola Garcia, a RED Air passenger, said she knew something was going wrong with the landing at MIA when the plane began to move from side to side.
The plane skid off the runway, and came to rest in a grassy area between runway 9 and runway 23, according to NTSB investigators. Firefighters found the plane’s right wing on fire and an evacuation was ongoing as dark smoke billowed.
The airport used a bus to take the passengers and crew to a nearby terminal where some were met with their loved ones.
“I feel alive again. I thought I was going to die,” Garcia said.
The airline reported on Wednesday that there were seven injured including a pregnant woman. County officials’ initial report was that three has suffered minor injuries.
The Federal Aviation Administration and Boeing Commercial Airplanes are assisting with NTSB’s investigation and the Dominican Republic appointed a representative.