MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A flight headed to Fort Lauderdale airport Thursday night had to abort departure when its nose gear reportedly collapsed.
Passengers on US Airways flight 1702, departing from Philadelphia, had to exit the airplane via chutes around 6:38 PM Thursday, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.
There were 154 people on-board the plane; 149 passengers and a five crew members.
The plane, according to US Airways, did get off the ground, but the pilot decided to abort and bring the plane back down. The plane’s nose gear reportedly collapsed when it hit the runway but officials are still investigating.
“We started to go back up again and when we got 20 feet off the ground, it just didn’t feel right and then the front of the plane started to take a dive. Then the front hit wheel hit and the wheel broke off and then the plane hit,” passenger Dennis Fee told CBS4’s Lauren Pastrana over the phone.
Fee managed to record to cell phone video as he ran to safety.
One by one, passengers escaped via the emergency chute, barely waiting for others to clear the path before sliding down themselves.
One man can be seen helping his fellow passengers quickly get off the slide.
Other passengers exited through an opening above the grounded plane’s wing.
“There was lots of screaming and some crying,” said Fee. “Nobody seemed to be getting out of their seats until we came to a stop and they told us to evacuate.”
He said crew members were helpful in keeping people calm.
“They were very efficient about getting people off the plane,” he said.
Fee said that US Airways didn’t tell them much other than letting them know they’d be re-booked on another flight.
But the airline was active on Twitter, answering questions all evening long.
At one point the airline tweeted, “Initial reports flt 1702 PHL-Fort Lauderdale blew a tire on takeoff & takeoff was aborted. We are taking care of our customers & crew.”
Nobody was seriously hurt, according to the airline.
The FAA is investigating.
Fee told Pastrana he’d been rebooked to Flight 9010 scheduled to arrive at FLL at about 2:30 Friday morning.