CLAYTON COUNTY, Ga. - Passengers from Delta Air Lines were removed from a plane Wednesday morning after two of the plane's tires deflated at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.
ExpressJet 5508 left the gate just before 9:30 a.m. but just a few moments later that plane blew not one, but two tires on takeoff.
Channel 2’s airport tower cam spotted the disabled jet on runway 8-right shortly after it came to a halt Wednesday morning. A bus rushed out to meet the jet to safely remove all the passengers and crew.
The plane belongs to ExpressJet but was operating as a Delta connection and was on its way to Tulsa when the two tires blew as it rushed down the runway.
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Channel 2’s Richard Elliot spoke to Nicolas Escobar, who was one of 46 passengers on that plane. He said he knew something was wrong pretty quickly.
“So we’re on the plane waiting for takeoff and we hear a big boom,” Escobar said. "We’re like, ‘What was that?’ So then after a while, the plane starts slowing down and we kind of feel that’s not even up. When we stopped we realized that, they tell us that, one tire blew out.”
The plane came to a safe stop.
As a precaution, Atlanta fire rescue trucks came out but the plane’s slides never inflated and airport officials sent out a stairway truck to help get the passengers and crew off the plane.
In a statement, an ExpressJet spokesperson said “Passengers were safely deplaned through the main cabin door and transported back to the terminal on buses as maintenance crews worked to tow the plane off the runway.”
Blown tires are not uncommon with aircraft; one happened here at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport just last year, though most happen on landing.
Escobar said he was just happy to arrive in Tulsa safe and sound.
“We heard that there was a tire that blew out, which the pilot said in his 27 years of his career it never happened to him, so it was probably a once-in-a-lifetime deal,” Escobar said.
Here is the full statement to Channel 2 Action News:
"ExpressJet flight 5508, operating as Delta Connection from Atlanta to Tulsa, aborted takeoff at approximately 9:22 a.m. ET at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport after two tires deflated. Passengers were safely deplaned through the main cabin door and transported back to the terminal on buses as maintenance crews work to tow the plane off the runway. Passengers have been accommodated on another aircraft that will continue on to the original destination."
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