BY ROCCO PARASCANDOLA AND KEITH HERBERT | rocco.parascandola@ newsday.com email@example.com
March 11, 2009
Metal fell from the plane, which safely made an emergency landing at Kennedy Airport, authorities said.
"We heard an explosion," said Robert J. Bellini, 45, who was working at Varsity Plumbing and Heating on the edge of Flushing Bay in Queens. "Then 20 to 30 seconds of shrapnel pelting the building."
A shard of metal crashed into a skylight above a conference room of the two-story, stone building, cracking the safety glass, said Bellini of Lake Grove.
Plumbers had been meeting in the conference room 20 to 30 minutes before the debris fell onto the skylight, he said.
The FAA, Port Authority and New York City police were investigating.
The plane, American Airlines Chicago-bound Flight 309, an MD-80 aircraft carrying 88 passengers and five crew members, experienced engine trouble right after its 8:15 a.m takeoff, the Port Authority said.
As it crossed Flushing Bay, debris fell from the plane. Police said it landed on a building at the south end of 123rd Street, in College Point, where Varsity Plumbing is located. The Port Authority said it landed on the street.
PA spokesman Pasquale DiFulco said police and other PA workers were sent to the scene to secure the debris until the FAA arrived.
There were no injuries.
The plane made an emergency landing minutes later at Kennedy.
The cause of the engine trouble was not immediately clear, but one source said birds did not play a role.
American Airlines spokeswoman Andrea Huguely said the cause "appears to be engine failure" rather a than bird strike.
US Airways Flight 1549 made an emergency landing in the Hudson River Jan. 15 after Canada geese got caught up in the plane's engines.
Everyone on board survived was is now known as the "Miracle on the Hudson."
Pervaiz Shallwani contributed to this story.
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