The plane, a Bombardier CRJ 900 twin-engine jet operated by Delta regional carrier Atlantic Southeast Airlines, was en route from Atlanta with 60 passengers and four crew members. The pilot, who landed the plane successfully, despite having the right side landing gear remain stuck in the 'up' position, is being hailed as a hero.
Fifty-five year old Jack Conroyd is a retired Navy pilot. He and his 33-year old co-pilot Larkin Newby, successfully brought the plane down at JFK while firefighters and rescue crews stood anxiously by, in fear that the plane would explode when it literally 'hit' the runway. The plane had 3000 pounds of fuel on board.
Captain Conroyd reportedly balanced the jet on the left wheel then eased it onto the right wing to slow the plane down. The wing dragged along the runway generating a massive shower of sparks.
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The landing is being compared to the Miracle on the Hudson made by Captain Chesley (Sully) Sullenberger who was forced to successfully ditch his US Airways plane in the Hudson river in January 2009. "He was our 'Capt. Sully,'" passenger John Predham told the Daily News. "I can't wait to see him receive all of the credit he deserves." A statement from Sullenberger was issued praising Conroyd. "I commend the crew for ensuring a successful outcome for everyone onboard," he said in a statement obtained by Fox News.
The cause of the accident is being investigated by the National Transportation Safety Board.