Jet blows tire, skids to stop at Philadelphia International Airport

Emergency vehicles drive past a damaged US Airways jet at the end of a runway at the Philadelphia International Airport, Thursday, March 13, 2014, in Philadelphia. Airline officials said the flight was heading to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., when the pilot was forced to abort takeoff around 6:30 p.m., after the front landing gear failed. An airport spokeswoman said no injuries have been reported. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
Emergency vehicles drive past a damaged US Airways jet at the end of a runway at the Philadelphia International Airport, Thursday, March 13, 2014, in Philadelphia. Airline officials said the flight was heading to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., when the pilot was forced to abort takeoff around 6:30 p.m., after the front landing gear failed. An airport spokeswoman said no injuries have been reported. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum) (AP)
Posted: March 15, 2014

Update: All runways reopened Friday morning and some of the passengers who were on the aborted flight arrived earlier in Fort Lauderdale.

Earlier story

A US Airways jetliner bound for Fort Lauderdale, Fla., blew a tire and skidded nose-down to a stop Thursday evening at Philadelphia International Airport.

Flight 1702, carrying 149 passengers, was trying to take off about 6:20 p.m. when the tire blew and the front landing gear collapsed, officials said. The flight had been scheduled to take off at 5:50, according to US Airways' website.

The plane "blew a tire, and I believe that caused the nose gear to collapse," said airport spokeswoman Victoria Lupica.

There were no injuries, and all the passengers were evacuated and bused to Terminal A, officials said.

Passengers aboard the Airbus A320 described a chaotic and frightening scene.

Christopher Teaney, 33, was returning home to Fort Lauderdale from a business trip in Philadelphia.

"The flight kind of shot up and then bounced down," Teaney said. "Bounced real hard. Shot up again, and then nose-dived."

Once the exit doors opened, Teaney said, "we went down the slide, saw the smoke coming from the engine."

The worst part of the ordeal, he said, was waiting 30 to 40 minutes in the cold for the buses to arrive to take the passengers inside the terminal.

Asked how he responded when the plane seemed to be bouncing, Teaney said: "I was laughing the whole time. I didn't know what else to do."

Hannah Udren, 18, of Lower Merion, was heading to Fort Lauderdale to visit family.

"We were just entering the air and the front of the plane went down and hit the runway, and then popped back up and hit it again," she said.

Then, she said, the plane stayed down and ground to a halt on the runway, as passengers smelled the stench of the damaged tires, and saw the smoke through the windows.

"People started screaming," she said. "All the [interior] lights were switching on and off."

Then, she said, "someone screamed, 'Evacuate!' and we all got out."

Udren said she slid down the ramp and dashed as far from the jet as possible.

"I was so happy that we weren't higher up," she said.

Lupica said that US Airways was planning to put the passengers on a later flight Thursday night.

Teaney said he had already booked a flight on American Airlines for Friday and was planning to spend Thursday night at a hotel.

Said Udren: "I think I'm going to get a new flight."

The cause of the accident was under investigation.


bmoran@phillynews.com

215-854-5983215-854-5983  @RobertMoran215

Inquirer staff writers Craig R. McCoy and Chris Palmer contributed to this article.

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