New York City: Flight 5050 to Bowery Bay

Flight 5050 to Bowery Bay

As USAir's Boeing 737-400 Flight 5050, bound for Charlotte, N.C., accelerated for takeoff on a rain-drenched runway at LaGuardia Airport one night last week, some of the 63 on board felt a strange reversal of the jet engines. There was a skid and an impact that, though it left two dead and 45 injured, did not feel especially severe. A greater shock awaited at the bottom of the escape slide. Said social worker Larry Martin of Brooklyn: "When we got off, we were in the water." Passengers who could not swim held on to driftwood or each other, while many clambered...

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