WILKES-BARRE – Using his iPhone camera from Fort Lauderdale, Jarrod Williams told Newswatch 16 that he helped evacuate the U.S. Airways jet that failed an attempted takeoff from Philadelphia International Airport on Thursday.
The man from Edwardsville said he always tries to book a seat in an emergency exit row for extra leg room, and never thought that he would have to open the door.
“(The pilot) was picking up speed, but he went up and he came right back down. He tried pulling it back up again, and it went right back down. When we went down it slammed, and it broke off the landing gear onto the front of the plane,” said Williams. “After we skidded, we`re like, ‘do we smell smoke?’ They told us to remain seated and remain calm. We`re like ‘great, is this going to delay our flight even more?’ All of a sudden, the captain came on. He said, ‘get out, evacuate, get out now.’”
U.S. Airways officials said all 154 passengers and crew made it out of the plane safely.
Williams said the airline offered passengers free coffee and alcohol as they waited for their luggage to be removed from the damaged jet.
"I walked away from the plane with just some sore muscles, a sore back. The only thing I would like is, give me my money back for the flight,” said Williams.
Williams and most of the other passengers took another U.S. Airways flight to Fort Lauderdale, arriving about six hours behind schedule.