Continental Airlines flight 1404 began its takeoff run at 1808 MST on Saturday evening at Denver airport for a routine flight to Houston. Carrying 115 passengers and crew, the Boeing 737-500 series airplane was heavy with fuel as it thundered down the runway.
Preliminary indications are that, just after lifting off, something went wrong with one of the engines and the pilots aborted the takeoff. In their attempts to slow and stop, the aircraft veered left off the runway, shot across the grass and finally came to rest about 200 yards from an airport fire station. A fire broke out but, amazingly, everyone evacuated with a number of injuries but no fatalities.
115 people will have an extra reason to celebrate this holiday season. They’re still alive.
UPDATE 1: Jon over at Flightblogger makes the point that we shouldn’t call it a “miracle”. Pilot and flight attendant training and a well manufactured airplane ensured that everyone survived.
UPDATE 2: Passengers are saying that a pre-boarding announcement said that the plane had “engine problems” but they had been corrected.
Much, much more to come.