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Monday, December 22, 2008


Continental Airlines Inc. is looking into a weekend accident in which a flight bound for George Bush International Airport from Denver International Airport went off the runway.

The Houston airline’s flight 1404, a Boeing 737-500 aircraft carrying 110 passengers and five crew members, was unable to take off, ran off the runway and caught fire, according to news agencies. About 38 of those on board suffered injuries.

Continental (NYSE: CAL) is cooperating with authorities and is in the process of collecting additional information about the Saturday evening accident.

“The care of our passengers, crew and family members is our highest priority and they will receive any assistance necessary,” said Larry Kellner, Continental Airlines’ chairman and chief executive officer. “We are deeply concerned by this accident and will do everything we can for the passengers, their families and our co-workers.”

Relatives and friends of those traveling on flight 1404 who want to give or receive information about those on board should telephone Continental at 800-621-3263 or go to the airline’s Web site at www.continental.com.

Continental Flight 1404 was almost completely full, speeding down the runway, taking off for houston when something went wrong.

"The plane got really bumpy and I figured we're hitting the ground now," passenger Gabriel Trejos said.

The plane careened out of control, about 200 yards off the runway at Denver International Airport, coming to rest in a ravine. The landing gear sheered off and the plane was on fire.

"On my side of the plane, I could see the engine I noticed it was on fire I could feel the heat coming from the window," Gabriel said.

Trejos and his wife were sitting in Row 19 with their one-year-old son. Once the plane came to rest, passengers began panicking.

"We had another guy yelling the planes gonna blow up the planes gonna explode," Gabriel said.

"I can remember we were in the aisle, and I didn't want to leave my husband but I knew I had to get the baby off," Gabriel's wife Maria said.

110 passengers and five crews members escaped through emergency exits. Now federal investigators have the task of figuring out why the plane veered off the runway and caught fire.

Some of the passengers who survived Flight 1404 finally arrived in Houston on Sunday.

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