URGENT Precede MIAMI At Least 15 People Injured After Jet Landing Gear Collapses
PANAMA CITY, Panama (AP) _ At least 15 passengers aboard an Eastern Airlines jet suffered minor injuries after the landing gear collapsed moments after the plane arrived in Panama City, spokesmen for the carrier said Sunday.
Juan Jose Moreno, director of Eastern’s office in Panama, said problems with the landing gear developed after the L1011 jet landed Saturday night at Omar Torrijos Herrera International Airport, about 15 miles outside Panama City.
He said Flight 977, which originated at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport, was taxiing down the runway when the landing gear collapsed.
In Miami, Eastern spokesman Robin Matell said earlier the landing gear collapsed either as the plane landed or as it was taxiing to the gate.
The flight left Miami at 6:56 p.m. EDT Saturday with 297 passengers and a crew of 13, Matell said. It arrived in Panama about two hours later. Its final destination was Cali, Colombia.
Passengers were evacuated from the plane after firefighters spotted sparks in a turbine, Moreno said. No fire was reported.
Moreno said 15 passengers suffered injuries either when the landing gear collapsed or when they were evacuated. Matell put the number of injuries at 16.
Matell said all but seven were treated and released. He did not know the names or nationalities of the passengers.
A Panamanian radio station reported that among the injured were three Americans, nine Colombians and two Panamanians.
A spokeswoman at the Centro Medico Paitella said the hospital admitted two passengers, one a Miami man and the other a pregnant Colombian woman. The patients were under observation, said the spokeswoman.
At San Fernando hospital, nurse Janeth Machuca said four passengers were admitted - a woman from Panama, a 30-year-old woman from Miami, and two other people.
A seventh person was hospitalized, but officials in Panama City could not say where.
Matell said the cause of the landing gear collapse was under investigation.