United Airlines tire blows on takeoff, causes tire to catch fire at Tampa International

- A plane leaving Tampa International Airport had to abort takeoff after a tire blew.

At about 3:15 p.m. Monday, the pilots of United flight #1948 that was headed for Houston had to slam on the brakes.

"Just on the final point where it would lift, that's when it boomed," said passenger Himanshu Parikh.

No one was injured, but the incident made for some tense moments.

"Oh my God, we are going to die," one passenger said as the plane skidded down the runway.

131 passengers and six crew were aboard the 737.

"I always do my cross before takeoff," said passenger Katerina Karsant. "Just as I finished doing my cross we felt the plane go down and skid."

Airport officials say firefighters were there within one minute, and doused the wheels with foam.

"It was very quiet," said passenger Mary Lewis. "We were just listening to the announcements that were on the plane. They were updating us every few minutes."

They were evacuated by section, down a flight of stairs that were driven out to the plane on the runway.

"It was only our second time flying," said Sarah Arellano, age 11. "It was scary, it was bumpy and it was loud."

Passengers were brought back to the terminal to be re-booked for later flights.  The airport says there were very few delays as a result of the incident.

The plane has been towed to a hangar on site to be examined and investigated by United.

The NTSB does not generally investigate unless there are deaths or serious injuries.
 

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