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Descent was 'like a sudden dive'

BURBANK, Calif. (AP) -- The airliner that skidded through a fence on landing and wound up on a city street had descended like a dive bomber, then touched down farther down the runway than usual, a passenger said.

Southwest Airlines Flight 1455, from Las Vegas, barreled right off the runway at Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport on Sunday evening, striking a car, just missing a gas station and slightly injuring 15 of the 142 people on board."I felt like we were a jet bomber," passenger Kevin McCoy said Monday. "We were coming down so fast, so steep. I've never experienced an approach like that before. It was almost like a sudden dive."

Once they were on the ground, he said, the plane braked so hard that he had to dig his heels into the carpet to keep from falling forward.

Southwest CEO Herb Kelleher said the crew did not report mechanical problems during the flight.

And although a gusty storm swept through the area a few hours earlier, other jets had landed on the runway moments before the accident, and none reported problems with the weather, National Transportation Safety Board investigators said.

The Boeing 737's flight data and voice recorders were taken to the NTSB's lab in Washington, D.C., for analysis. The Southwest Airlines pilot, who has flown for the Dallas-based airline since 1988, was being interviewed Tuesday.