Passengers Arrive in South Florida After Philadelphia Plane Evacuation

Passengers describe experiences aboard plane that had takeoff problems

Passengers who were aboard a South Florida-bound plane that was forced to abort takeoff at Philadelphia International Airport Thursday were happy to finally make it to Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport early Friday.

"It feels very nice, very nice to be on the ground in Lauderdale," said Dennis Fee, who was aboard US Airways Flight 1702 which came crashing back down shortly after it lifted off around 6:25 p.m.

The A320 Airbus was leaving Philadelphia when it experienced a mechanical failure that forced the nose of the plane into the ground, according to airline officials.

Of the 149 passengers and five crew members aboard the plane, just one minor injury was reported.

Fee and several other passengers aboard the flight arrived at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in the early hours of the morning Friday

"We started skidding down the runway, people were screaming and crying, it was quite harrowing," Fee said.

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

"All the sudden we slammed back into the runway and bounced and we go up a little more and we slam again. It happened very quickly so we didn't know exactly what was going on," passenger Larry Grant said. "Almost instantaneously people from the back were screaming 'fire, fire,' and so passengers did what they were supposed to do and they pulled the emergency doors over the window and we started to proceed and the ramps inflated and we got everybody out, we slid down the ramps, very fast."

"The tail of the plane started shaking," said Valerie Charles, who was in the back. "It kept seeming like the pilot was trying to go up in the air...the plane hit the ground very hard, like twice. And then the third time I just started panicking and I wanted to get off the flight and everybody kept telling me 'sit down.'"

Fee praised the crew members for staying calm.

"It went well, the stewardesses, the airline people did quite well," he said.

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