Alaska Airlines passengers scream as plane makes hard landing amid Tropical Storm Hilary: 'Sparks outside'

An Alaska Airlines flight from Seattle made a hard landing amid Tropical Storm Hilary late Sunday, shooting sparks on the runway at John Wayne Airport in Southern California.

Terrified passengers screamed as Flight 1288 from Seattle to Santa Ana in Orange County slammed into the ground at high speed, a video posted on YouTube shows. The plane appears to drag its left wing along the tarmac, causing sparks to fly into the torrential downpour.

"Why are we going so fast?" one person can be heard asking as the plane rapidly descends in the video. 

"Brace," someone else says as it becomes clear the pilot is not slowing the craft down. A loud crunch can be heard as the plane makes contact with the runway, provoking screams and cries of terror from passengers.

"There's sparks outside! Why are there sparks outside?" a passenger can be heard asking in horror and amazement.

Alaska Airlines officials said the plane "experienced an issue soon after landing" in the storm at 11:15 p.m. local time.

"The aircraft was unable to taxi to the gate due to an issue with its landing gear," officials said in a statement. The Boeing 737 craft was "parked on a taxiway, where it remains."

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  (Orange County Fire Authority)

There were 106 passengers and six crew members aboard Flight 1288, who were safely deplaned and transported by bus to the terminal. No one was injured.

"Our focus is taking care of our guests who were on board, including retrieving their checked bags," Alaska Airlines said. "We apologize for the inconvenience and appreciate their patience during this situation."

"The safety of our guests and employees is always our primary priority," the statement continued. "While this incident is a rare occurrence, our flight crews train extensively to safely manage through many scenarios."  

The Orange County Fire Authority (OCFA) assisted with getting people off the plane.

"Last night amid the rain and wind our crews were called to John Wayne Airport when a 737 experienced an issue while taxiing to the gate after landing," OCFA said in a statement.

"Fortunately, no one was injured. They were however stranded. Firefighters worked with airport staff and the pilots to safely get everyone off the plane," the statement continues. "Airport emergencies are just one of the many things OCFA firefighters train on.  That joint training with airport staff makes these incidents run smoothly." 

Tropical Storm Hilary wreaked havoc across Southern California amid Nevada on Sunday and Monday, sending heavy rain and strong winds at an intensity not seen in the area in 84 years.


Flight cancellations mount as Tropical Storm Hilary bears down on West Coast, Southwest

Flight cancellations are mounting as Tropical Storm Hilary is bringing heavy rain and high winds to Southern California and Nevada that could cause catastrophic flooding.

The once-Category 4 hurricane made landfall along the Baja California peninsula in Mexico on Sunday morning as a tropical storm, and the deadly storm continued to weaken as it made its way into the southwestern U.S. by late afternoon.

Hilary has already claimed at least one life in Mexico after a family of five was swept into the sea while crossing a stream in the Baja California Sur state, according to local officials.

States of emergency were declared in both California and Nevada due to the storm’s effects, and FEMA administrator Deanne Criswell spoke with both California Gov. Gavin Newsom and Nevada Gov. Joseph Lombardo ahead of the storm to offer the federal agency’s assistance.

FOX Weather's Steven Yablonski and Emilee Speck contributed to this report.

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