At least three people were seriously wounded after a plane carrying 126 passengers caught fire in a crash landing at Miami International Airport on Tuesday, according to officials. The horrifying incident took place when a Red Air flight from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic according to Miami-Dade Aviation Department spokesman Greg Chin.
The plane's landing gear collapsed as it reached the runway resulting in a fire. A video shared on social media shows flames and smoke erupting from the aircraft's wing. Firefighters from the Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Department were spotted fighting the blaze. According to officials, a major accident was avoided just in time due to the expertise of the pilot.
The Red Air Flight 203 from Dominican Republic touched down at the Miami International Airport at 5:30 pm. The moment it crash-landed it skid on the runway and ripped through a communications tower and a small building before coming to a stop in a grassy area beside the runway, local outlet WSVN reported.
It instantly caught fire with all 126 passengers and 11 crew members still inside the aircraft. Three people with serious injuries were rushed to the hospital after the accident.
A chilling video posted on social media showed the plane skidding along the runway before flames and a large cloud of smoke were visible. Firefighters arrived on the site and doused the plane in foam to put out the flames.
Passengers were being bussed to the terminal after being spotted on video running from the plane.
Footage from the runway showed the silver jet's nose smashed to bits, with black smoke billowing from a fire on its left wing.
The communications tower's shredded metal could be seen wrapped around the blazing wing. Other footage showed the plane skidding across the runway on its belly before colliding with the tower, which erupted in flames.
Initial investigation suggests that the landing gear of the plane collapsed, according to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration have launched an investigation into the incident.
"NTSB is sending a team of investigators to Miami following today's gear collapse and runway excursion of an MD-82 jetliner at Miami International Airport," the agency said in a statement.
Investigators are expected to arrive on scene on Wednesday.
The plane belonged to the RED Air fleet and had flown in from the Dominican Republic. Flights were delayed as a result of the collision, according to a representative for Miami Airport.
Authorities said that a major accident was avoided because of the pilot's expertise who managed to bring the aircraft to a halt in the grassy area.
Red Air is a very new airline in the region. The Dominican Republic-based company began operations in the fall of 2021, with the goal of competing with other low-cost carriers by providing reasonably priced flights between the United States and the Caribbean Island.