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Last Updated: Thursday, 17 January 2008, 20:06 GMT
Eyewitnesses on Heathrow incident
Crashed plane
Three people have been treated for minor injures at the scene

Passengers, eyewitnesses and local people have been describing a "close call" when a British Airways aeroplane from Beijing to London crash-landed at Heathrow airport.

Some passengers said they did not realise the seriousness of the incident until they got off the plane, while eyewitnesses on the road described seeing the landing.

Here, they describe what they saw and experienced.

CHLOE RICHARDS, PASSENGER

"The plane came down quite quickly and it was quite bumpy. But we didn't realise it had crashed really until the oxygen masks came down."

She said there was no announcement on the aircraft and passengers did not know it had landed on the grass.

"It felt like it had gone slightly sideways, but it didn't particularly feel like a crash. We thought it had just been a bumpy landing, until the oxygen masks and parts of panelling came down off the plane.

"It came to a very very sudden stop. You're used to planes coming in quite slowly and having a bounce or two and gliding to a stop. But it was a very sharp stop and everyone jolted forwards and then the masks came down.

"Some people leapt straight out of their seats and ran to the exits and were told to sit down by the air stewardesses."

FERNANDO PARDO, PASSENGER

When we were landing I was looking through the window and I saw ... I don't know whether the landing gear crashed or had a problem... I saw the engine on the tarmac.

Well, everything was so quick and we were all evacuated.

It was so quick that you cannot even realise what exactly happened. There was no panic at all.

JEROME ENSINCK, PASSENGER

Things have come down - the oxygen masks have come down - some of the lighting has gone down.

It was clear that the people on the plane were a bit shocked.

Then the emergency exits were open. The slides came down.

We were all told to go down as quickly as possible.

The moment I walked away from the airport I started to realise the complete undercarriage of the plane was missing, that we had missed the runway by 100m, that the wheels were lying scattered over the area.

So we had thought nothing had gone wrong, it was just a bad landing.

But [we] realised afterwards it was a fairly close call.

JOHN ROWLAND, EYEWITNESS - TAXI DRIVER

I instantly knew this plane was very low.

I actually went into a cringing type of mode and looked out of the window of my cab to notice the tail just going across the roof of my cab, which seemed like a matter of feet but was obviously more because it just missed the perimeter fence.

And then [the plane] belly-flopped into the runway where the undercarriage collapsed and it careered skidding down the runway.

[It] appeared to be on a straight line, the doors appeared to open on impact.

Within 200 yards or 150 yards down the runway it careered right and came to a stop.

ROYSTON WEYMAN, EYEWITNESS

It seemed to be coming straight at first and then it sort of, almost, flipped a bit and then just belly flopped into the grass.

Then it skidded along the grass in a plume of smoke.

It just hit the tarmac and then skidded and went 45 degrees.

NICK GRAY, EYEWITNESS

We were taxiing along ready to take off, and certainly out of the window I could see a plane coming in to land.

I'm not quite sure if the undercarriage was missing or not, but certainly what we saw was the plane coming down.

There were some sparks as the undercarriage or the bottom of the plane actually touched the runway - certainly a huge amount of smoke coming up from that.

And then the plane did come to a halt reasonably quickly.

Heathrow map

It was incredibly efficient, the speed that people got off the aircraft.

I could see that the chutes were deployed very quickly and people were coming down on that.

Then people were sent off to the nearby buildings which are probably only about 200 yards away from the plane.

There about six fire engines there now. There seems to have been regular dousing of foam on the port engine which obviously probably was the hottest one where the plane landed.

There is a lot of activity and lots of vehicles with flashing lights all around the plane.

NEIL JONES, EYEWITNESS

It was clear that the pilot was desperate to try and get in.

Then I saw him come well short of the runway.

The aircraft hit very hard - there was a lot of mud and dirt and the aircraft slid onto a 90 degrees, or as close to 90 degrees, sliding on the grass basically.

It stopped pretty quickly and I'd say within 30 seconds all the doors were open and the slides were out.

JOAN CHINERY, MYRTLE AVENUE

From the comfort of their living room, Mr and Mrs Chinery watched the television images of the damaged passenger plane lying across the runway.

Despite living just a few hundreds metres from where the plane crashed, she and her husband were unfazed.

Joan Chinery said: "We've been here nearly 50 years. We're not going to move because of what's happened.

"After a while you just stop taking notice of the planes altogether."

The pair are more concerned about the cars roaring past on the A30, yards from their house.

Mrs Chinery said: "You've got a better chance of walking out the road here and being knocked down by a car than being killed by a plane."

MARTIN CORNELL, MYRTLE AVENUE

There's no drama really. Nobody is really worried about the airport. You've just got to assume they're doing their best to keep the planes up in the air.




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