Continental Airlines flight 1404 scheduled to fly from Denver, Colorado to Houston, Texas on 20 December, 2008 slid off the runway at Denver International Airport at around 6:18 pm.
The Boeing 737-500 (registration number N18611) that first flew in 1994 had 115 people on board of flight CO 1404 (110 passengers and 5 crew), who ALL disembarked the plane through emergency slides that have been deployed on both sides of the aircraft. 38 of them were taken to hospital, with 4 having “moderate to serious” and one person reported as having “serious” injuries. Most injuries are broken bones and fractures. Most of the passengers escaped through the emergency slides and were climbing up the small hill immediately after the accident as the fire fighters arriving to the scene have seen passengers walking or running away from the plane, coming out of the smoke that covered the wreckage.
It is not yet confirmed whether the plane had actually taken off by the time it caught fire, but according to reports runway has was littered by wreckage – which indicates that the plane may have lifted off and then practically fell back on the runway before sliding off into a small ravine on the side 200 yards away. (If this is true, the accident itself seems to be similar to that of Spanair in Madrid earlier this year, where most of the passengers died…) One passenger story tells us: “the plane started to take off, came back down and skidded off“, but this will have to be investigated. After skidding off, the plane came to rest on its right hand side, and the cabin was filled with smoke. After the evacuation the fire had entered the cabin as well, as firefighters were reporting that the overhead luggage bins have melted onto the seats.