At least three people were hospitalized after an airplane caught fire in a crash landing at Miami International Airport on Tuesday.
The Red Air flight from the Dominican Republic touched down at the airport at about 5:30 p.m. and tore through a communications tower and a small building before coming to a stop in a grassy area beside the runway, local outlet WSVN reported.
The plane’s landing gear malfunctioned and fell off during the landing, officials said. The plane was carrying 126 passengers and 11 crew members at the time of the crash.
Parts of the smashed-up communications tower could be seen on the plane’s right wing, which caught fire, according to the outlet.
Three people were injured and taken to local hospitals, according to Miami-Dade Fire Rescue.
“What happened here is a miracle,” said Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava, who had landed at the airport on a separate flight.
“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.”
One passenger, Paola Garcia, told the station “I thought I was going to die.”
“All the windows were broken, and someone, like, broke his leg and arm. Horrible,” said Garcia. “The plane was like jumping and jumping and jumping,” said Garcia.
“I started running and I jumped, and I thought it was going to explode,” he added.
Another passenger, Paolo Delgado, said he saw the fire and the smoke before he said he started to smell something.
“People were like, screaming all around. I don’t know, like panic,” said Delgado.
The scene after the crash was hectic. A video posted on social media showed panicked passengers being ushered out of the plane and sliding down the inflatable emergency chute.
Passengers were then loaded onto buses and taken to safety. The crash closed the runway into Friday night as authorities remained continued to investigate.
The National Transit Safety Board said it will be at the airport Wednesday morning.