Plane crashes into tower and bursts into flames at Miami Airport after landing gear fails

The plane tore through a communications tower before it came to a stop on the grass

A plane carrying more than 100 people caught fire and burst into flames after it was forced to crash-land when its landing gear failed on Wednesday.

Passengers were screaming and panicking on the aircraft, which had 126 people on board, as it tore through a communications tower and skidded along the runway at Miami Airport.

Video shared on social media showed how the plane's nose was smashed and its left wing on fire.

Passengers could be seen evacuating by walking along the plane's other wing to safety.

“People were very frightened,” RED Air Flight 203 passenger Mauricio Davis told the Miami Herald. “People were grabbing the seats to keep from spinning around."

Firefighting units are seen next to the plane. Credit: AP

The fire started on Tuesday after the plane's landing gear collapsed on arrival from the Dominican Republic, Miami-Dade Aviation Department spokesman Greg Chin said.

Three passengers were taken to hospital with minor injuries, while the others were taken inside the terminal, Chin said.

Passenger Paola Garcia said she thought she was going to die.

“I started running and I jumped, and I thought it was going to explode,” she told WSVN.

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The plane came to a stop on the grass beside a runway, where it was doused with chemicals to put out the fire.

At least three firefighting vehicles attended the scene, with emergency crews reaching the plane in a minute and a half, Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said.

“What happened here is a miracle,” the mayor told reporters.

The collapse of the front landing gear in the nose of the aircraft appeared to cause the fire, airport officials said in a tweet.

RED Air is a low-fare airline that launched last November and only flies between Santo Domingo and Miami. The airline has four aircraft and more than 50 employees, the Herald reported.

The National Transportation Safety Board said a team would arrive at the airport by Wednesday to investigate.