“The people in this crash in
Maloney said passengers’ good fortune stemmed from a
landing that didn’t result in the Boeing 737-800 colliding — nose first
— with, say, a wall or the ground. He added that the pilot might have
been able to significantly slow down the airplane’s speed, preventing
it from landing in the nearby ocean or road.
The plane cracked in half, both engines broke off
from the impact, and the left main landing gear collapsed. Government
officials Wednesday recovered the flight data recorder.
The accident happened about
and stopped at the ocean’s edge. Of the 154 passengers and six crew
members, 92 were taken to hospitals and 13 admitted, officials said.
Most sustained cuts and bruises, and there were no reported fatalities.
Investigators from the
Wednesday afternoon to assist the island’s government with the probe.
The team includes five NTSB aviation specialists, as well as technical
advisers from the
The NTSB typically assists foreign governments with investigations involving American-manufactured aircrafts.
As the plane neared
Mouttet said he sensed the plane was coming in too high.
“I knew it was going to be a hard landing when the back wheel hit the ground,” said Mouttet, 45, a
As the reverse thrusters came on, Mouttet saw the terminal — which is at the end of the runway — glide by. He turned to
Seconds later, the plane burst through a fence at the end of the runway, pounding into a ditch.
“I envisioned ending up in the ocean,” Mouttet said.
“If we would have ended up in the ocean, we would have drowned. Once we
came to a stop, I smelled gas. I smelled aviation fuel everywhere.”
After crew members opened the doors, passengers
began exiting down an inflatable slide. Seeing smoke and fearing an
explosion, they ran in the gusty rain until they reached a road — and a
bus pulling up.
Passengers, some injured, began clamoring to get in
the bus, which pulled up to the plane and began loading passengers as
ambulances and police streamed to the wreck.
“It was extremely chaotic,” he said.
Mouttet said he is experiencing back pain and plans to return to
Via McClatchy-Tribune News Service.