Jay Slusher was one of the lucky ones on Delta Air Lines Flight 191, which crashed and burned at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport yesterday.
Slusher, a 33-year-old computer programmer from Phoenix, was sitting in the tail section of the Lockheed L1011 as it descended.
"It seemed like we were being forced to the ground much faster than what the pilot wanted," Slusher said in a telephone interview with Ted Koppel of ABC's "Nightline." "He kept increasing the engine speed trying to pull out."
Slusher said he "thought we had landed when in fact we had hit something."
"The next thing I knew, I saw flames coming and I thought we were going to explode," he told reporters in a separate Dallas session.
"I ended up sitting in the seat on my side," he continued. "I unbuckled my seat belt and jumped out. After that I tried to help people."
Slusher said he saw "10 or 12 people who were not seriously injured. The rest . . . were either very seriously injured or there was no evidence of movement at all."
Slusher, who was reported by authorities at St. Paul Hospital in Dallas to be in "stable" condition with "minor abrasions," said there was an explosion upon impact, which singed "the hair on my head."
Asked if he was aware that the jet had struck several automobiles, Slusher said, "I felt we had hit the runway. I felt it was too soon."
There was little air turbulence on most of the flight, Slusher said, except on the approach. "On the way down, making the approach, we started making some pretty drastic turns, but I thought that was to maneuver around the thunderstorms."
Slusher added that shortly before the crash, the plane "hit what they call a wind shear."
Asked how he felt, Slusher replied: "I'm feeling fine."