Miami International Airport

‘I Thought I Was Going to Die': Passengers Recall Fear When Plane Caught Fire at MIA

There were 140 people on board, and three were hospitalized for minor injuries, officials said

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An investigation is underway after a passenger plane carrying 140 people caught fire after landing at Miami International Airport from the Dominican Republic on Tuesday.

Red Air Flight 203 from Santo Domingo landed at around 5:30 p.m. when the landing gear in the nose of the plane collapsed, Miami International Airport officials said.

The plane caught fire but it was quickly extinguished, officials said.

A plane carrying 140 people caught fire while landing at Miami International Airport, as NBC 6's Cristian Benavides reports.

The MD-82 jetliner was carrying 130 passengers and 10 crew members, Red Air said in a statement. Airport officials had earlier said 126 people were onboard.

The wreckage of the plane was still on the runway as National Transportation Safety Board investigators arrived at the scene Wednesday to conduct an investigation into the crash with the Federal Aviation Administration.

“I saw the fire when I jumped out of the airplane," said passenger Paolo Delgado. "I saw a lot of smoke. It was dark actually, then it was like a burnt smell.”

Delgado captured cell phone video of himself escaping the burning plane through the evacuation slide.

Three people from the plane were taken to the hospital for minor injuries, officials said.

There were also many emotional reunions inside the airport as passengers were safely reunited with their loved ones.

“I thought I was going to die actually," said 18-year-old passenger Paola Garcia, who was reunited with her father Edwin after the crash. "I had an old man next to me, and I was hugging him. Horrible — it was horrible.”

“She called me screaming, saying 'Daddy, the plane crashed!' so I tried to calm her down," Edwin Garcia said. "She started to cry and cry and cry."

Footage from the scene showed the plane on its belly being doused with foam by firetrucks. Photos and videos posted on social media showed passengers nearby walking on the runway.

Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava, who happened to be landing at the airport on a different flight around the same time, saw the immediate aftermath of the crash.

"The plane landed, 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," Levine Cava told reporters. "Immediately when I deplaned I went to see for myself and of course what happened here is a miracle."

Viewer video shows a Red Air airplane on fire at Miami International Airport on Tuesday, June 21, 2022.
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