WALLER COUNTY, Texas — Video obtained by KHOU 11 shows a McDonnell Douglas MD-87 taxiing down the runway Tuesday morning seconds before a fiery plane crash that happened near Houston.
Miraculously, all 18 passengers and three crew members survived by jumping down emergency slides.
"Things were flying around and when it finally came to a stop they just told us to 'Get out, get out!' and we unbuckled ourselves and we ran," one of the passengers said. "It was already on fire before we got out!"
The passenger, who didn't want to be identified, said the pilot told them that he and his co-pilot couldn't pull the plane up in time, so they tried to brake but there just wasn't enough runway left.
"We are extremely thankful that there were no fatalities. When you look at the video of the aircraft on fire on the ground yesterday and what’s left of the aircraft now, we are very happy and thankful that are no fatalities at this time," NTSB's Michael Grahams said Wednesday.
Family members identified one of the passengers transferred to the hospital as Ken Melber. They say he has a fracture in his back and is still hospitalized, but is alert, in good spirits and happy to be alive.
Melber and the others were headed to Boston to watch Tuesday night’s Astros game against the Red Sox. His family said he didn’t get to see the game but was happy to hear they won.
An NTSB go-team will be here for a couple of weeks gathering evidence, which includes the plane’s black boxes.
"The NTSB has secured the cockpit voice recorder and the flight data recorder and they are currently en route to Washington DC to be downloaded. We do note that both the recorders had suffered heavy fire damage," Graham said.
The plane is owned by J. Alan Kent, who was one of the 18 passengers. His wife told KHOU 11 they are very thankful that everyone, including a 10-year-old, is OK.
He released the following statement on Wednesday.
"As you are now aware, yesterday morning an MD87 aircraft failed to get airborne during takeoff. As a result, the plane ran out of runway at Houston Executive Airport and came to a stop in an adjacent field.
There were 21 people on board, which included passengers and crew. Thankfully, everyone used the emergency slides to exit and make it to safety before a fire consumed the plane. There was a minor injury sustained by a passenger going down the slide but thank God that there was no loss of life.
A full investigation will be conducted to determine what caused the takeoff issue, and we are cooperating with the FAA and the NTSB to make sure all of their requirements are met. After the fire, the plane became a complete loss, but we were blessed that no one was seriously hurt."