MIAMI, June 23 (NNN-AGENCIES) — A jetliner carrying 126 people caught fire after landing Tuesday at Miami International Airport when the front landing gear collapsed, but no serious injuries were reported, authorities said.
The fire followed the collapse of that landing gear on a RED Air flight arriving from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, Miami-Dade Aviation Department spokesman Greg Chin sai.
Airport officials said in a tweet that the collapse of the front landing gear in the nose of the aircraft appeared to cause the fire.
Three people on the MD-82 jetliner were taken to a hospital for treatment of minor injuries, he added. Other passengers were being bussed from the plane to the terminal.
Miami-Dade Fire Rescue posted on Twitter that fire crews had placed the fire under control and were mitigating fuel spillage.
“People were very frightened,” RED Air Flight 203 passenger Mauricio Davis said. “People were grabbing the seats to keep from spinning around.”
Passenger Paola Garcia said she thought she was going to die.
“I started running and I jumped, and I thought it was going to explode,” she said.
The plane came to a stop on the grass beside a runway, where it was doused with chemicals to put out the fire. At least three firefighting vehicles responded. Emergency crews reached the plane in a minute and a half, according to Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava.
“What happened here is a miracle,” the mayor told reporters.
The airport was experiencing some flight delays Tuesday evening, airport officials said in a tweet, adding passengers were instructed to check with airlines for details.
The National Transportation Safety Board posted that a team would arrive at the airport by Wednesday to investigate the fire.
RED Air is a low-fare airline that launched last November and only flies between Santo Domingo and Miami. The airline has four McDonnell Douglass MD-81 and MD-82 aircraft and more than 50 employees. — NNN-AGENCIES