Passengers recall fear after plane’s gear collapses, wing catches on fire at MIA

Source: WPLG

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MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – Some of the 126 people who were aboard an MD-82 jetliner that caught on fire on Tuesday during a rough landing at Miami International Airport said they feared for their lives.

Paola Garcia said she knew something was wrong when the plane she boarded in the Dominican Republic began to move from side to side. She saw windows crack.

Yamil Elneser said the plane was shaking. Garcia said she saw a wing on fire. They felt like the plane landed without wheels before it spun off the runway.

“I feel alive again. I thought I was going to die,” Garcia said.

The Federal Aviation Administration later reported the plane’s landing gear had collapsed.

The passengers evacuated down a slide as smoke billowed. Three of the 126 people aboard the RED Air SRL 203 arriving from the Dominican Republic suffered minor injuries, according to Greg Chin, a spokesman for the Miami-Dade Aviation Department.

“We saw smoke and flames and we got out of the plane through the emergency exit on the window, on top of the wings, and then from the wing, down,” Alfredo Machado told ABC News.

Miami-Dade firefighters arrived to find the plane’s wing on fire. Buses at the airport took the passengers to a terminal where some were reunited with loved ones. There were hugs.

The National Transportation Safety Board reported a federal team will continue to investigate on Wednesday.

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