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Flight Returns To DFW After Possible Tail Strike

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American Airlines 757

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FORT WORTH (AP) - An American Airlines flight on its way to South America was quickly diverted back to DFW after its crew suspected the tail of the Boeing 767 struck the runway on takeoff, officials said Sunday.

American Flight 945 from DFW International Airport to Santiago, Chile, was turned around shortly after takeoff Friday night after the pilot suspected the tail strike, said Jim Faulkner, spokesman for the Fort Worth-based airline.

None of the 170 passengers and 12 crew members aboard was injured, and they were accommodated while their plane was taken out of service, Faulkner said. A replacement jet was brought in Saturday morning.

The Federal Aviation Administration was following up on the report, FAA spokesman Lynn Lunsford said.

Passenger Rita May praised the crew for keeping the passengers informed on all developments.

“They did a fabulous job on what was to me a very panicky group,” she said in a telephone interview from Santiago, Chile.

May, who said she takes that flight often, said she saw nothing unusual about the takeoff — although in retrospect she said she thought the takeoff may have been a little steep. She said she briefly smelled the scent of fuel fumes before the scent dissipated. The landing was exciting, she said, “because we had so much fuel that there was a lot of momentum.”

Touchdown felt normal, but there was an unusually long, slow deceleration past lines of emergency vehicles, she said. Passengers seemed to keep their anxieties under control, she said.

But all of the terminal bars and restaurants were closed by the time the passengers deplaned.

“We were starving, and there wasn’t a drink to be had,” she said.

This incident came hours after an American Airlines flight from Washington to Chicago had to be diverted to Dayton, Ohio after crew members and passengers  began to complain of feeling ill.

The incident happened around the same time a flight belonging to Dallas-based Southwest Airlines had to land in Arizona because a hole opened in the roof of the plane.

Also, on Sunday an American Airlines flight from Boston to St. Thomas landed safely at New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport after developing a pressurization problem in the cabin.

Flight 883 with 140 passengers aboard landed about 10 a.m. Sunday. No injuries were reported. Airlines spokesman Jim Faulkner said the passengers were placed on another aircraft and went on to their destination.

He said officials would inspect the aircraft — a Boeing 757 — to determine what happened.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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