Three hurt after jet slides off runway

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Three hurt after jet slides off runway

Post by BORG »

Three hurt after jet slides off runway

OTTAWA - It all happened so fast.

A United Express jet careened down a runway at the Ottawa International Airport under heavy rain Wednesday and swerved at the last second to avoid smashing through the lighted barrier at the end of the tarmac.

"It was a little bit surreal because you knew something was wrong. The whole plane was shaking," said Andrew Meikle, in Ottawa from Washington for an intellectual property rights conference. "We were not slowing down. The pilot said that he had no brakes."

It was about 3 p.m. when the nose of the Embraer 145 lurched forward as the front landing gear crumpled when rubber hit mud and grass. The nose slammed into the ground, sliding some 100 metres before Flight 8050 from Washington D.C. came to an abrupt stop just inside the airport's perimeter fence.

"It was like a dream, it just went so quickly," said an elderly Ray Stewart, also from Washington. "I was thinking 'I'm in a plane crash and I may not survive.'"

Stewart said the flight from Dulles Airport in Washington had been delayed because of a problem with the airplane there.

"Any time you see mud flying up past the windows next to you, well, you know it's not a normal landing," said Ottawa resident Christopher Slattery after 28 hours of travel from Kuwait, where he's been teaching for a year.

"There's not really much going through one's mind. It's just it happens too suddenly. We were very lucky."

Thirty-three passengers escaped the harrowing landing without serious injury, streaming out of the emergency doors onto the wings within a minute of the plane coming to rest.

The co-pilot, 31, was most seriously injured, suffering a minor but bloody "abrasive-type wound" to his leg, paramedics spokesman J.P. Trottier said.

The pilot, 48, was transported to hospital with neck pain. An elderly woman was also taken to hospital with neck pains, Trottier said.

All three injured were expected to be released from hospital Wednesday.

A third crew member was unhurt.

"The brakes didn't work, the pilot told me," said passenger Gail Gillis. "I travel every week and I know when the brakes come on. When we turned hard towards the field, I knew we were in trouble."

Gillis said the force of the turn pushed her hard one way, then she was jolted forward when the grass slowed the plane down as it ran off the tarmac.

"A stewardess shrieked for us to get off the plane," she said. "There was no panicking but all I could think of was what could happen if we caught fire."

Only about 50 metres from Alert Rd. at the southeast corner of the airport, the aircraft remained intact. Though there was no fire, airport and city fire crews as well as Ottawa paramedics and police responded to the scene.

Passengers were transported to the terminal in OC Transpo buses about 45 minutes later and were sent to customs to be processed.

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada is investigating the crash.

- With files from Scott Taylor ... 14776.html" onclick=";return false;
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