Home / National News / Passengers on Delta Flight That Skidded Off New York Runway Talk About Bumpy Landing


(NEW YORK) — Passengers on Delta Flight 1086, which skidded off a LaGuardia Airport runway in New York Thursday, described the bumpy landing that left the plane just feet from the water.

The plane from Atlanta to New York veered sharply midway down the runway and ended up on an embankment with its nose close to a nearby bay.

One passenger, Malcolm Duckett, said he knew as soon as the plane touched down that something was wrong.

“When I looked out the window, the left wing was gliding across the fence that was holding the water back and it was just going down,” he told ABC News.

An unnamed passenger traveling with Duckett said he saw the water and thought he might have to “get ready to swim.”

Passenger Shelia Mihalovits, 73, remained calm during the landing, even after the plane left the runway.

“I [felt] the pilot was in control, and we were all on the ground, and there was an immediate feeling of confidence,” Mihalovits told ABC News of the moments after the plane stopped. “Then it was, ‘How are we going to get off?’ which might seem only somewhat scary, but everybody was cooperative.”

Another unnamed passenger reported that the cabin was eerily silent after the plane finally came to a stop.

“The funny thing was the flight attendants were actually kind of surprised at how calm everybody was, because it was dead silent on the plane once the plane came to a stop,” he told ABC News. “I think they were almost in shock, like this isn’t what we would expect in a normal situation.”

Passenger Jared Falleci snapped a memorable photo from the plane just after it came to a stop. Taken from inside the plane, the icy waters of Flushing Bay appear to be just feet away.

“I was holding on to the seat in front of me and I was praying,” he told ABC News of his experience during the hard landing. “It literally stopped a matter of feet, as you can see from the photos, from the water itself.”

One passenger who was decidedly not rattled was Mihalovits, who said the rough landing wasn’t the scariest moment she’s experienced on board a plane.

“I’ve been on worse things. I’ve been on planes where the engine was on fire in my life, things like that,” said Mihalovits. “When you see me, take a different plane.”

All 127 passengers and five crew members were able to safely exit the aircraft through emergency exits. The New York City Fire Department reported 28 people had non-life-threatening injuries and, of those injured, five were taken to local hospitals.

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