With a flight attendant yelling over and over again "heads down, stay down," passengers ducked and prayed on a tense descent into John F. Kennedy International Airport as malfunctioning landing gear sent sparks flying and left one of the plane's wings dragging along the tarmac.
No one was hurt Saturday evening when Delta Connection Flight 4951, operated by Atlantic Southeast Airlines, made its emergency landing on its way to White Plains, N.Y., from Atlanta, said Port Authority of New York and New Jersey spokesman Steve Coleman.
"I could feel the vibration, I could feel it bumping," passenger Jamie Pfeiffer of Bridgewater, Conn., told the Journal News of White Plains about the right wing scraping the ground during the rough landing. "I heard a guy behind me say he saw sparks. The pilot was just awesome."
Video (see below) captured by a passenger shows a tensely quiet cabin in the seconds before the words "brace for impact" came over the jet's loudspeaker. After the warning, a flight attendant can be heard yelling "heads down, stay down" again and again.
The right gear of the plane was stuck and would not deploy, the pilot told air traffic control, according to a recording monitored by thenewspaper and captured on the website LiveATC.net, which is devoted to controller talk.
"The wing was just scraping along the ground," passenger Carol Otto of Fishkill told the Journal News.
All 60 passengers exited safely through the main door onto the tarmac and were bused to the terminal, said Atlantic Southeast Airlines spokesman Jarek Beem.
"The pilots and them did an excellent job," Hill said. "They kept everybody calm."