Close call for valley-based Mesa Air Group flight
MCALLEN, Texas (KSAZ) - It was quite an eventful flight for the pilot of a regional jet Tuesday. It was a flight between Dallas-Fort Worth and McAllen Miller Airport near the Texas-Mexico border. The flight was normal up until the final approach, a photographer captured what happened next.
The photo captured the moment the wingtip of a U.S. Airways Express Jet made contact with the runway at McAllen's airport. The man who took the picture is a self-described plane spotter and couldn't believe what he saw through his viewfinder.
"Right now I'm still on a little bit of an adrenaline rush considering what I saw, what I witnessed could have been a lot worse. Thank God nobody was hurt," said Juan Diego DeLaGarza.
The type of plane involved, a CRJ Regional Jet operated by Phoenix-based Mesa Airlines for US Airways Express holds about 90 passengers. Juan posted the photo to Facebook and Twitter where it quickly went viral.
"I went home half an hour later and started going through my pictures, and that's when I realized what I had taken a picture of," he said.
He said it seemed like a normal landing right up until the plane was a few feet off the ground and believes the pilot may have hit wind shear.
"Considering he was only a few feet off the ground, he did a good reaction and saved the plane and all the lives on board," said DeLaGarza.
Mesa Air Group released the following statement on the incident. "Due to concerns about possible damage incurred on landing, the aircraft was removed from service for inspection. Passengers exited the aircraft normally, and there were no reported injuries. Mesa Airlines is conducting an investigation."
American Airlines, which is merging with US Airways, says the return flight was cancelled, and passengers were accommodated.