Seatac, WA Airliner Crash Landing, Apr 1988


April 17, 1988

SEATTLE (United Press International) — The pilot of a flaming, brakeless commuter plane with 40 people aboard avoided a disaster by steering the aircraft past the main terminal at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport and crashing into a vacant gate area, officials said Saturday.

''As soon as he hit the ground, there was your basic power failure -- lights off, no brakes, no motor,'' said TODD WEBER, one of 37 passengers aboard Horizon Air Flight 2568.

The pilot was forced to crash land shortly after takeoff Friday evening after the plane's right engine overheated and caught fire.

''We hit the runway hard,'' Weber said, ''crossed the runway into the grass, from the grass crossed the tarmac; from there, we were all down.''

Six people remained hospitalized Saturday, but there were no fatalities in the accident, the worst aviation incident in the history of Sea-Tac Airport, which has never had a major crash.

Travelers seated in a bar and restaurant at the center of the terminal watched in horror as the fully loaded, 78-foot-long DeHavilland Dash- 8 turboprop, shot past them with smoke and flames pouring out of the right engine. It sideswiped a passenger loading ramp as it went out of view.

Airport bartender LARRY SPICER said he looked up from mixing a drink and, ''I saw a streak going by with clouds of smoke. He was running pretty hot. I thought it was odd the way he went by so close (to the terminal). Then there was a huge cloud of black smoke.''

After clipping the end of one loading ramp, the plane -- with Capt. CARL CARLSON of Portland, Ore., at the controls -- hit a second gate extension, sheering off its left wing. It swung violently toward a crowded terminal concourse, Seattle port police said.

Landing gear was stripped from the plane as it struck several unmanned baggage carts and other ground equipment, finally coming to rest with its right wing buried in a third, vacant loading ramp. A pickup truck was wedged between the aircraft and the terminal.

Orlando Sentinel


I remember this all too well! I was standing right there!

OMG, I remember standing there scared to death thinking... "this is it" my 1st and last flight. My whole life flashed before my eyes in that very moment.

God is good all the time