Around 14 students and chaperones were part of 122 who were on board a United Airlines flight that landed at the Washington D.C. airport with two flat tires.
When they landed, two rear tires blew during the landing. The plane landed safely and without incident and was towed to the terminal. There were no reported injuries.
The aircraft was a Boeing 737-700 carrying 122 passengers onboard and five crew members.
“I kind of had a queasy stomach a little bit because it was a rough landing,” Mt. Carmel eighth grader Haley Faulk said to a Washington D.C. TV station on Monday after walking into the terminal.
School chaperones say there were screams - and some shouting - as the plane hit the tarmac hard.
“Even the ones of us that have traveled, it was very scary too,” says chaperone Stella Hebert to the TV station. “It was one of the roughest landings that I have ever had in a long time.”
Cheryl Landry, who has flown a few times before, agreed with Hebert about the rough landing.
“We had a good pilot,” said Landry. “He was calm. I thought it was a rough landing. Many of the students had never flown before, so they did not know what to expect when they landed. They didn’t know if it was rough or not.”
The group’s D.C.-based guide says her heart sank when she saw the plane land.
“All of the sudden, I saw all these fire trucks and a police car - a police cruiser - thinking ‘oh my gosh! My flight just arrived!” said Leah Jefferson of Jefferson Capital Tours.
As the students busily texted home after landing, some said they could see smoke from their seats. Mt. Carmel assistant principal Jackie Trahan credits United’s pilot for restoring calm, as he told them what to expect.
“That there would be firetrucks. For us to stay calm. They were going to check it out and no one move,” says Jackie Trahan, assistant principal of Mount Carmel Elementary. “He had a nice calming voice.”
Walking through the airport after the landing, some of the students were swarmed by the TV and newspaper media. It was when the students began giving interviews is when they realized how serious it could have been, Landry said.
“They didn’t realize how serious it was,” she said. “God was with us.”
The Mt. Carmel students, 28 total, and 14 chaperones, spent Tuesday touring Washington D.C. On Monday, two groups of Mt. Carmel students flew in on two different planes. One came from Houston, while the other group flew in from Atlanta.
They watched themselves on the Washington D.C. TV news Monday night.
They will be flying into Lafayette on Friday and will be back to school on Monday.
"It does not look like anyone is afraid to fly back,” Landry said. “I’m happy it was a good ending.”