Shortly after 6:00 P.M. Denver time, Continental Airlines flight #1404 bound for Houston veered sharply off the runway into a ravine. The right side of the plane burst into flames on impact. No one died in the crash. 38 people were taken to several different hospitals in the Denver metropolitan area for treatment of what is believed to be mostly lesser non-life threatening injuries.
The Boeing 737 was carrying 107 passengers and a flight crew of five. The plane crashed about 6:18 P.M. on the western side of the airfield. The impact sheered the wheels and landing gear off the plane. Passengers and crew members escaped using the safety slides on the left side of the plane. 20 ambulances and 6 firetrucks rushed to the inferno that was described as "surreal" by the firefighters.
The crash caused a general delay for DIA closing the runways for about 40 minutes. The airport is now operating with only the east side runways with departures and arrivals being somewhat delayed. Flight schedules should return to normal tomorrow.
This is the first plane crash at a Denver airport in 21 years. A Continental Airlines DC-9 jet crashed shortly after taking off in a heavy snowstorm November 15, 1987 at DIA's predecessor Stapleton International Airport killing 28 of the 73 passengers onboard.
Photo: CBS Denver Channel 4