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Eyewitness Report: Southwest Airlines 1455

By: Parker Moon

(File Photo/AP)
I was a passenger on Southwest Airlines Flight 1445 on March 5, 2000. I was seated in the front section of the plane, and the flight was fine and there was not much turbulence at all. I was afraid to fly by myself, but my Dad put me on the plane anyway and a Flight Attendant was keeping an eye on me. She was a nice lady and she took good care of me through the whole flight. When we prepared to land I did every thing i was told. I put my seat in an upright position and fastened my seatbelt.

I then looked out my window seat as we broke through the clouds. I could see the lights and I knew we were getting close to the ground. When we came to the runway, however, I got a bad feeling. I then realized that we were going too fast! I turned and looked back down the aisle and no one seemed to be acting different so I sat back down straight and said to myself that it was going to be fine. Thats when I saw it; the runway lights were gone and the concrete runway was comming to an end!! Thats when the first people began to notice. The first thing I heard was "look, the runway's ending!" and the people that were awake leaned towards the nearest window to see.

(File Photo/AP)
That's when I felt a tremendous shudder!! I turned and looked out the window and up ahead, I saw it. It was a road; a road with lights! But these weren't street lights, they were cars! Lots of cars and they must have seen us comming because some of them stopped. We crossed the road, and I braced myself because I just knew we were going to run over or be hit by a car! But then we went off the road and I knew we didn't hit anything. I was relieved, but not for long.

Next thing I knew, we hit a ditch and I hit my head on the seat in front of me. We then scraped nose down onto a parking lot or some other paved surface. Thats when the Flight Attendant came to me and said "we have to get off!!" I didnt hesitate and unbuckled my seatbelt. Then I looked out and there was a gas station sign outside my window. That's when the thought crossed my mind that the plane could be sitting on gas tanks and it might explode!

(File Photo/AP)
I guess everyone realized it the same time, because everyone started rushing to the exits. Someone opened the exit three or four rows in front of me and an inflated slide deployed. Then the flight crew started to help get people down out of the plane. I was one of the last people out and when I did get out I felt scared and dazed at the same time because i had trouble putting what had just happened together.

I also wanted to get away from the plane, still fearing it would explode! I then saw that the gasoline tanks were unharmed and the Flight Attendant who had taken care of me was coming up to me. She had my cell phone, so I called my Grandparents, who were at the airport waiting for word of me. They knew no one was known to be dead, but they were glad to know that I was okay.

Afterward, I was taken home and I was asked questions by all of my family. And later that week I took a plane home with my grandparents and I didnt have any fear of another plane crash. Every time I hear of a plane crash, I have a flashback and I feel a respect for all the people on the plane.

[Editor's Note: For more information on the events surrounding the crash-landing of Southwest Airlines flight 1455, please view the accident record in the AirDisaster.Com Accident Database.]

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