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Bay Area Passengers Recall Close Call With Runway Disaster

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – Gina Licup still gets emotional when she recalls her flight last week on Singapore Airlines that came within seconds of a runway disaster.

She and two Bay Area friends – Leni and Marc Stayman – were on the final leg of a flight home from Asia aboard Singapore Airlines flight 16.

As the pilot was cranking up the Boeing 777's engines, traveling about 120 miles per hour on the runway at Inchon International Airport, he was forced to quickly abort the take off.

A Korean Airlines airbus had crossed onto the runway in front of the Boeing 777 without permission.

"I was scared," she told KPIX 5. "I'm glad we are home. It could have been a disaster."

Marc Stayman said the takeoff was well underway when the incident occurred.

"We were about a third of the way through when pilot hit the brakes hard," he said. "It felt the same as if we were landing. We were bracing ourselves against the seat in front of us because we were braking so hard… We were praying – 'Please dear God, not today."

The same thoughts raced through Leni Stayman's mind.

"I said 'What's going?' Are we going to die?'" she told KPIX 5.

By the time their flight slammed to a halt if was within a mile of the Korean plane. Six of the Boeing 777's tires had blown out.

The plane was towed back to the gate and after undergoing hours of repairs, the trio found themselves back on the same plane for their flight headed home.

"I was gonna clap – 'Yeah! We are home," said Licup of landing at San Francisco International. "It was a relief -- Home Sweet Home."

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