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Jet's Exhaust Blast Topples 2 Travelers and Wall

October 11, 1987|From Times Wire Services

CHICAGO — A blast of exhaust from a DC-9 jet blew down a temporary wooden wall, shattered a window and bowled over two travelers inside a Midway Airport terminal, officials said Saturday.

Airport officials said one man was trapped briefly under the collapsed wall and another man who had been using a telephone attached to the wall was pushed across a corridor into a nearby waiting room.

Neither traveler was reported injured in the accident Friday, but frightened travelers and airport visitors ran screaming through the terminal, witnesses said.

Midway Airlines Flight 341, bound for Minneapolis with 87 passengers aboard, was pulling away from Concourse B-4, near the airport's main terminal, when it increased engine thrust to execute the 180-degree turn.

"We're baffled," said Neal E. Szczender, shift manager for Midway Airlines. "It was probably a little more than normal momentum coming off the jet."

The National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration were investigating the incident.

A Midway employee quickly pulled the trapped traveler from beneath the collapsed wall, and he refused medical examination. "He was joking about it," said Szczender. "He had a smile on his face. Maybe it was from shock."

The man who had been on the phone attempted to resume his conversation after airport personnel lifted the wall. "Are you still there? Are you still there?" the man said, according to John Martin, a Midway operations agent. But the telephone line had been severed.

Szczender said the pilot's turn was standard procedure.

He said the pilot was unaware of the incident until after the plane departed. The flight continued without incident to Minneapolis.

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