An American Airlines jet carrying 78 people encountered dangerous winds and engine problems in stormy weather and clipped a row of trees and an airport antenna during an emergency landing early Sunday.
Some of the 72 passengers said they heard an explosion just before landing and the cabin started to fill with smoke. They slid down chutes to evacuate the plane and only one of the passengers suffered a minor injury.
Everyone remained calm, passengers said, and gave the pilot an ovation after the the MD-80 jet’s wheels hit the tarmac.
The pilot of Flight 1572 from Chicago declared an emergency one mile before landing at Bradley International Airport at 12:57 a.m., said Mary Culver, a Federal Aviation Admininistration spokeswoman in New England.
Equipment on board indicated it may have been wind shear, a sudden, powerful gust of wind rushing downward from a thunderstorm. “That’s probably the most violent form of weather a pilot can encounter,” Culver said.