MIAMI – Rafael Medina is thankful to be alive, but he is still traumatized by what happened on June 21.
Medina said that the just over two-hour flight from Santo Domingo to Miami was uneventful. That is until the plane landed abruptly on its belly, skidding off the runway. All 130 passengers on board knew something was terribly wrong.
He was sitting in the exit row and had to open the door and get passengers out.
“When they (were) landing . . . crash immediately,” said Medina, who is suing the airline.
Videos showed the fear and chaos inside the aircraft, and the intense flames and smoke outside.
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“When I opened the door, I see the fire. I think I’m gonna die. I don’t know what to do.”
Rafael said he was shocked that no flight attendants, or even an announcement by the pilot, alerted him to what was going on.
“Total chaos. Nobody is saying nothing. That’s the problem . . .”
He jumped out anyway knowing very well this could’ve ended differently.
Now he’s afraid to even get on a plane. He rented a car to drive back to Texas where he lives.
“I have nightmares. I feel anxious,” Medina said.
The lawsuit an attorney representing him filed lodges numerous allegations against RED Air from the airline knowingly operating an old plane with a history of mechanical issues to pilots and flight attendants not being forthcoming or offering any guidance in the frightful moments.
“Things can happen on an airplane,” said Ariel Saban of Saban and Solomon Law Firm, who is the attorney representing Medina. “Obviously there was an emergency landing but how you react . . .that is what’s concerning over here.”
Officials with the NTSB said the plane experienced a collapse of its left main landing gear and the agency has recovered both the cockpit voice recorder and the flight data recorder. The NTSB says a federal team is continuing to investigate the crash.