Passengers flying into Miami International Airport Tuesday evening, from Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic, have some serious complaints for customer service. Three people were rushed to the hospital with “minor injuries” after their plane’s landing gear collapsed, causing the plane to catch fire as it slid down the runway on it’s belly.
Crash landing in Miami
When this Red Air flight arrived in Miami, Florida, around 5:30 p.m., the landing gear collapsed “sending passengers and crew scrambling to get to safety.” Officials are still trying to verify whether there were 126 or 130 passengers aboard, due to conflicting counts.
Airport spokesman Greg Chin told CNN that “126 passengers were on board.” The Airline management issued a statement listing “130 passengers and 10 crew members on the aircraft.” Without speculating, CNN notes “It’s unclear why there’s a discrepancy in the number of people who were on the plane.”
Paola Garcia wasn’t real happy to get a chance to try out the inflatable slides the stewardesses are always droning on about, while waving those plastic cards around. “The plane was like jumping and jumping and jumping. I thought I was going to die.”
#MDFR is on scene of an aircraft fire at @iflyMIA. Fire crews have placed the fire under control and are mitigating fuel spillage. All souls on board have been assessed for injuries. A total of 3 patients have been transported to local area hospitals. pic.twitter.com/hMP68ncJ4s
— Miami-Dade Fire Rescue (@MiamiDadeFire) June 21, 2022
Coincidentally, Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava happened to be arriving at the time from Philadelphia. She saw the commotion and went to investigate.
“Apparently a tire burst, and then it went back up and came back down, and the landing was so hard, that the entire landing apparatus was destroyed and the belly of the plane is on the ground.” The Mayor was relieved the incident wasn’t worse.
“What happened here is a miracle.” Miami International Airport tweeted a slightly different version. All they say is that “that the landing gear in the nose of the plane collapsed.”
The wing was on fire
As fire crews rolled up to the scene, “they saw the wing of the aircraft was on fire,” Miami-Dade Fire and Rescue relates.
According to spokesperson Erika Benitez, “crews used specialized foam trucks and conducted a search to ensure all passengers were off the aircraft.” Then they went to work cleaning up all the spilled jet fuel.
The airline admits the plane “had technical difficulties after landing at the Miami International Airport,” but they aren’t saying much else.
“At RED Air we express our absolute solidarity with the passengers and crew of the aircraft.” Lawyers for the passengers will be contacting them directly.
The National Transportation Safety Board doesn’t have much to say either. It’s way too soon for them to even start probing into what went wrong. All they know for sure is that “the aircraft was a McDonnell Douglas MD-82.”
They have a a team of investigators on their way to Miami as of Wednesday, June 22. Meanwhile, the Dominican Civil Aviation Institute “is also investigating and working with Miami authorities,” Red Air assures.