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Passengers on Continental Flight Say Crew Offered Little Help

May 10, 1994

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Passengers on a Continental Airlines jet that skidded off the end of a snowy LaGuardia Airport runway during an aborted takeoff in March told federal investigators they received little help evacuating the crippled aircraft, according to documents made public Tuesday.

None of the 110 passengers or six crew members were seriously hurt. Twenty- nine passengers suffered minor injuries, mostly cuts and bruises, and the copilot injured his back.

Continental Flight 795 was leaving New York for Denver at about 6 p.m. on March 2 when the pilot, Capt. Phillip Wright of Denver, judged that the plane didn’t have sufficient speed for a safe takeoff.

The pilots were unable to stop the jet, a twin-engine McDonnell Douglas MD- 80, before it slid off the runway, struck a dike and came to a stop with its nose extending over Flushing Bay.

Passengers interviewed after the accident by the National Transportation Safety Board described an orderly evacuation, but said they were given little help by the cabin crew.

″No one was there helping us (passengers), the flight attendants said nothing,″ a passenger told the investigators. ″We never had any help during the evacuation from the flight attendants, no announcements to evacuate were made by the crew; you would think the flight attendants would be there to tell us what to do.″

Another person on the plane said ″the passengers self-evacuated.″

According to the report, the passenger stated emphatically that the ″flight attendants and pilots did not direct the evacuation and that the flight attendant in the rear was overcome with fear and unable to function.″

The documents made public Tuesday include NTSB reports on the accident, but offer no analysis of its likely cause. The agency will hold hearings and issue a final version of its findings by the end of the year.

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