In what’s being called nothing short of a miracle, a group of passengers initially set to head to Boston to cheer on the Astros in Game 4 of the American League Championship Series found themselves running from a flaming jet in Waller County on Tuesday (October 19). Luckily, there were no casualties and only two of the passengers suffered minor injuries.
Pilots steered the locally-owned MD-87 off the northern end of the Houston Executive Airport runaway near Interstate 10 and Morton Road, located west of Katy. The plane rolled off the end of the concrete, through the grass, and into a field where most of the plane burned up.
According to Sgt. Stephen Woodard of the Texas Department of Public Safety, twenty-one people (18 passengers, three crew members) were on board the plane for its planned 10 a.m. departure. The two people who were injured were transported to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
All aboard were able to flee themselves.
“When it finally stopped everyone went ‘Get out! Get out! Get out!’ We jumped out on that inflatable thing and then everyone went ‘Get away!” Cheryl McCaskill, a passenger on the plane said.
McCaskill lost her shoes while fleeing the plane, wearing an Astros jersey supporting her favorite team. She says she won’t be flying for a while after the dramatic event.
The Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the incident. No immediate cause was given for what led to the plane going up in flames shortly after attempting takeoff.
J. Alan Kent, the local developer who owns the plane said he was “extremely grateful” no one was hurt or killed. According to lawyer David Norton, who was hired by the company Kent owns, Kent was shaken by the incident.
“His main focus right now is to comply with the FAA and NTSB and their rules to make sure we are doing everything right,” Norton said. “We truly have no idea at this point what happened or why it happened… I am sure that is going to get fleshed out over time.”