Passenger on flight before emergency landing at CLT: ‘Just a scary situation’

CHARLOTTE — Nearly 100 passengers are thankful to be alive after their flight made an emergency landing at Charlotte Douglas airport.

Delta flight 1092 was on its way from Atlanta Wednesday morning when it landed in Charlotte without its nose gear. No one was hurt.

It happened just before 9 a.m. Wednesday.

“We initially went down to land for the first time, and as we got maybe 30 to 50 feet from the ground, the pilot sped up and pulled away from the runway so we didn’t land the first time,” Harrison Smith told Channel 9′s Almiya White. “That’s when everybody was like, ‘oh there’s something really wrong.’”

(WATCH: Video shows plane landing without nose gear extended)

Emotions were high, but many of the travelers shared the same sentiments. They said they were thankful the pilot remained calm in the process.

Several passengers told White the landing felt smoother than a normal one, despite not having the proper landing gear.

“It couldn’t have gone more smoothly, from the landing, to the quick response from the emergency responders, to the gate agents,” said Rob Coker. “Everything was just incredibly smooth, very impressed.”

‘My heart is racing’

A viewer sent Channel 9 video from inside the plane as it was landing. The video shows the plane’s shadow, where it was apparent the aircraft’s nose gear was not out. The passengers were all bracing for impact and clapped once they landed safely. Then, they got off the plane using an evacuation slide.

One passenger who was sitting in the exit row told White that was the last thing he expected to happen.

“A flight attendant woke me up, gave me the safety card, told me to prepare and to be able to open the door,” Byron Harvey said.

You can hear the pilot making the emergency landing in radio traffic with air traffic controllers.

“Yes sir, we have a nose-wheel [inaudible] we’re going to have to go ahead and declare an emergency,” the pilot says.

(Photos: Plane lands at Charlotte airport without nose gear extended)

More than 100 people were on board, including two pilots and three flight attendants.

“My heart is racing,” Harvey said afterward.

“Palms are sweating,” he added. “Grabbed my phone trying to text my wife to tell her ‘I love you.’ It was just a scary situation.”

“I found out I’m going to be a father a couple of weeks ago, so you know, that was just very, very much on the front of my mind,” Matthew Bragg said. “So you know, thinking of my wife.”

Passengers are giving a wealth of credit to the pilots and crew for remaining calm. Delta Air Lines released a statement saying flight crews train extensively to safely manage through many scenarios.

“The flight attendants, the pilot -- they all handled it,” Harvey said. “It was a world-class service.”

“The chances of this happening are extremely low. But my confidence of if something does happen has only increased because of the preparation of the team and their reaction,” Coker said.

The aircraft was removed from Runway 18R/36L at about 7 p.m. Wednesday and an inspection was complete. The runway was then reopened.

VIDEO: Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg discusses emergency landing at CLT

Crews closed the runway in the meantime, which caused hundreds of flight delays and cancellations. According to FlightAware, more than 220 flights were delayed and 31 flights were canceled.

>> Click here to check the status of your flight.

(WATCH MORE: Plane makes emergency landing at Charlotte airport; all passengers safe)

Almiya White

Almiya White, wsoctv.com

Almiya White is a reporter for WSOC-TV

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