DENVER — A Continental Airlines jet taking off from Denver veered off the runway into a ravine and caught fire Saturday night, forcing passengers to evacuate on emergency slides and injuring nearly 40 people, officials said.
No deaths were reported, but 38 people were taken to hospitals, said Kim Day, Denver International Airport manager of aviation. No one was reported in critical condition.
The cause of the accident was not immediately known. The weather in Denver was cold but not snowy when Continental Flight 1404 took off from Denver International Airport for Houston around 6:20 p.m.
The plane veered off course about 2,000 feet from the end of the runway and did not appear to be airborne, Day said.
It was not known when the plane caught fire, but ground crews put out the flames quickly, said airport spokesman Jeff Green. The 112 people on board made it out on through slides on the Boeing 737.
The plane was carrying 107 passengers and five crew members, said Continental spokeswoman Mary Clark.
Denver Health spokeswoman Kalena Wilkinson said seven people were taken to her hospital with injuries that were not life-threatening. Seven people were at the University of Colorado hospital, but no one had life-threatening injuries, a spokeswoman said.
The accident closed the airport's west airfield and caused delays of 40 minutes, Day said.