NTSB Investigates Smoking Plane at Philly Int’l

Evacuated Plane 31314
Facebook/Dennis Fee

Officials continue to investigate a US Airways flight that was forced to abort takeoff at the Philadelphia International Airport earlier in March.

On March 13 around 6:25 p.m., US Airways Flight 1702 was forced to abort take-off on its way to Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

As quickly as the A320 Airbus lifted off, it came crashing back down.

"As we first hit the ground, flight attendants were yelling to keep our heads down," said Dennis Fee, one of the passengers. "There was a lot of screaming and crying."

The aircraft was leaving from Philadelphia International Airport when it experienced a mechanical failure that forced the nose of the plane into the ground, according to airline officials.

"I just sort of held onto the seat and tried not to panic," Fee said.

Airport officials say the front wheel of the aircraft blew out, causing the front of the plane to crash into the runway.

At the time of the emergency evacuation, 149 passengers and five crew members were aboard, according to airport officials.

Emergency crews were able to evacuate the plane safely through traditional and emergency exits.

Only two people on the grounded flight required treatment for minor injuries.

Most passengers from the evacuated plane boarded a new aircraft that departed Philadelphia for Florida around 11:45 p.m. that night. That flight landed safely in Fort Lauderdale after 2 a.m. on March 14.

Flights at Philly International were temporarily grounded, but resumed shortly after all passengers were safe inside the terminal.

Crews worked through the night to right the plane. Around 4:30 a.m. on March 14 they moved the plane from the runway with the assistance of other vehicles.

The National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Aviation Administration launched an investigation after the incident. NBC10 reporter Harry Hairston also obtained documents on the history of the A320 from the US Department of Transportation.

The 300-page report shows that the aircraft had its required airworthiness certificate. Nothing in the report indicated any past mechanical problems.

An NTSB official told NBC10 on Monday that they are currently reviewing airport surveillance video of the incident. Investigators plan to release a preliminary report by the end of this week at the earliest.

NTSB officials also say they may eventually make surveillance video of the incident public after they complete their investigation.

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