TAMPA, FL (WFLA) — An American Airlines flight was forced to make an emergency landing at Tampa International Airport early Tuesday. Passengers say it was due to a malfunction with landing gear.
According to an American Airlines spokesperson:
“AA flight 574, an A320 aircraft traveling from Phoenix to Tampa, experienced an indicator light in the cockpit prior to landing. The aircraft landed normally and passengers were deplaned via air stairs and driven by bus to the terminal. No one was injured. There were 146 passengers onboard. The aircraft is currently being evaluated by our maintenance team.”
News Channel 8 Daytime host Jerry Penacoli was on board the plane. He says passengers were told to brace as if they would crash land. Flight attendants showed passengers how to properly brace for landing.
As the flight came down, the flight attendants kept screaming “Brace! Brace! Brace!” and passengers were all screaming, Penacoli explained to a News Channel 8 producer. Penacoli says he and those around him were saying their goodbyes to each other. And miraculously the pilot landed the plane safely.
“We were given the full instructions on how to [brace for crash landing]. We were given the full instructions how to do it. As we were getting closer, it was petrifying,” he said.
Penacoli adds that the pilot deserves high praise. He called it an “extremely emotional ordeal that no one around him wants to endure again.”