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NTSB Go Team To Investigate 737 Crash At DIA

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The NTSB sent a Go Team to Denver, Sunday, to investigate the fiery crash during takeoff of a Boeing 737-500 operated by Continental as flight 1404 out of Denver International (DIA) for Houston Saturday evening that left at least 38 injured, two critically. At approximately 6:20 p.m. local time, the aircraft appeared to veer hard left some 2,000 feet down the 12,000-foot Runway 34-Right. A Twitter post described the crash and aftermath within minutes of the event (language warning). Evidence on the ground did not immediately suggest the aircraft successfully left the ground for any appreciable time or distance though witnesses aboard the aircraft seemed to think it may have made at least a hop before touching down again, at which time the right wing and engine appeared to "explode" and quickly caught fire. The airliner came to a stop on fire in a ditch, missing parts of its landing gear and its left engine. The accident temporarily closed three of the airport's runways as rescuers collected 112 passengers and crew that escaped the buckled fuselage, fought the fierce fire on the aircraft's right side and dealt with aircraft debris that was reportedly scattered on the runway. By Sunday, five of six runways were operational and delays were not expected to be more than about 40 minutes. Weather at the airport at the time of the crash was cold, but not snowy when the aircraft crashed. Wind was west, northwest at 24 gusting to 32. Surfaces at the airport were reportedly dry.

DIA opened in 1995 and has never suffered an accident resulting in mass casualties. The accident Saturday may be the worst in the airport's history. The aircraft burned until 9:30 p.m., local time, by which time the overhead bins had been melted to to the seats, according to the Denver Post.

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