NTSB focusing on landing gear after plane’s fiery landing at Miami International Airport

MIAMI – Investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board are focusing on a plane’s landing gear as they try to determine what led to a fiery emergency landing at Miami International Airport on Tuesday.

When RED Air SRL 203, arrived in Miami from the Dominican Republic at around 5:30 p.m., the front landing gear collapsed, sparking a fire that spread to a wing.

On Wednesday, NTSB investigators did a preliminary inspection of the plane which was partially on a runway and on an infield area.

A RED Air mechanic told CBS4 news partners The Miami Herald regular maintenance was performed on the company’s three planes, specifically the landing gear. He suggested it was possibly pilot error.

Scott Harrington, a commercial pilot of 40 years, has logged roughly 7,000 hours on the plane’s particular model – the MD-80. He said he has never seen this type of malfunction in his career and also suggested that it may have been pilot error.

“It’s a really, really strange circumstance that both main landing gear would collapse,” he said. “There didn’t seem to be any preparation before RED Air got onto the ground, so it seemed like just a random, not down and locked, event and the gear collapsed. I’ve never heard of that happening before on an MD-80 in particular.”

“Being a pilot on this airplane for thousands of hours that’s what I would think, they had no idea that there was something wrong,” he added.

There were 130 passengers and 10 crew members on board, all got off safely. Three people were taken to the hospital with minor injuries.

The NTSB said its investigation should be wrapped up in the next five to seven days.

MIA officials said two of the four runways will remain closed until the plane is removed. Travelers can expect delays at peak times. They are encouraged to check with their airline concerning the latest departure and arrival times. 

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