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Crippled Jetliner Skids to Safe Landing

From Associated Press

A Continental Airlines jet with one of its three sets of landing gear stuck skidded to a safe landing Friday evening on a foam-coated runway at Detroit Metropolitan Airport.

None of the 127 passengers and seven crew members aboard the Boeing 727 were injured, said Mort Edelstein, a regional spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration.

“I thought I was going to die,” said a female passenger who refused to give her name. “I only knew I was safe when the plane finally stopped.”

“It took off, and I immediately knew something was wrong,” she said. “It slowed down very fast, and the plane was kind of jolting. Then (the captain) came on the air saying that they can’t get the door closed for the landing gear.”

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Shortly after Denver-bound Flight 197 took off from the Detroit airport, its pilot radioed that the left rear landing gear was jammed, Edelstein said.

The plane circled for about two hours to burn off fuel, then landed with only its right rear landing gear and nose gear extended, Edelstein said.

The runway was coated with fire-retardant foam, and the jet’s pilot set the plane down on its right side before easing down the left side on the wing. After the plane came to a stop, the passengers exited safely down the rear stairs.


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