Passengers Tell About Emergency Landing

Passengers Tell About Emergency Landing

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Keith McCord ReportingAn unnerving few moments for passengers on a Salt Lake to Denver flight last night. The front landing gear wouldn't come down, so the plane landed, skidding on its nose!

Delta flight 1636 was scheduled to land in Denver at 6:25 last night. Delta flies between Salt Lake and the Mile High City several times a day. It's usually a quick, one hour flight. But last night, the flight was a few minutes late, and for good reason.

"As soon as that sucker stopped, everybody went crazy. It was like, 'Yay!' Whoo-hoo,' you know."

An unusual sight at Denver International Airport last night. A Delta MD-90 jetliner, parked, nose resting on the pavement.

Shortly before the landing, the pilot told the 146 passengers that the front landing gear wouldn't come down, and he'd have to bring it in on its nose.

"You could tell it was metal to tarmac contact there. It was quite noisy."

Mark Francis from Salt Lake was sitting in first class. We spoke with him by phone this afternoon.

Keith McCord: "So when that thing hit the tarmac, you were looking down at a severe angle?"

Mark Francis/ Salt Lake Passenger: "That's right. It's amazing how close you are to the ground when the nose gear isn't properly engaged."

He commended the pilot and the crew of five for their professionalism and how they prepared the passengers for the landing.

Mark Francis: "As the metal of the nose hit the tarmac, the pilot said he would literally stand on the brakes to shut that plane down as quickly as he could."

Though it probably seemed much longer, the plane skidded for about 20 seconds before coming to a stop.

Sylvia Lawson/ Passenger: "It was one of the easiest landings that I've ever had, and I've flown a lot."

Erica Smith/ Passenger: "It was scary. The pilot did a really good job, though, reassuring everybody and calming them."

Mark Francis/ Salt Lake Passenger: "There was a brief moment of silence, and then a rousing round of applause for the flight crew."

When it was over, passengers were taken by bus to the terminal.

Right now, Mark Francis is on a Delta flight heading back to Salt Lake. Delta, meanwhile, is looking into why the landing gear feailed.

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