American Airlines jet heavily damaged; passengers escape injury

CHICAGO (AP) — An American Airlines jet carrying 121 people missed a runway when it landed at O’Hare International Airport on Monday, heavily damaging the plane and leaving frantic passengers screaming.
No one was hurt on Flight 1340, although a firefighter helping evacuate passengers from the Boeing 727 cut his head. The flight originated in Kansas City, Mo.
“It was pretty chaotic. Everybody was screaming,” an unidentified passenger told WGN-TV.
A passenger on the plane told WBBM-AM radio that the plane bounced a couple of times, tearing his seat belt and causing the seat in front of him to come loose from its floor mount.
Fog was dense and visibility was a quarter-mile at 9:57 a.m. when the plane landed, although authorities could not say if weather was a factor.
American spokesman Al Comeaux said the airline would not discuss damage to the aircraft. But television footage showed the plane resting on its belly in a muddy field with an engine broken off and a piece of landing gear lying several yards away. Damage to a wing could also be seen.
Shelly Hazle, a spokeswoman for the National Transportation Safety Board in Washington, said the jet landed 200 yards short of the runway and eventually came to rest in the mud.
Hazle said the NTSB was sending a team to investigate. She had no information on plane damage beyond the landing gear. She did not know if the plane notified air traffic controllers of any problem before landing.