Denver Fliers Undaunted by Crash That Injured Dozens

Denver's airport was jammed with holiday travelers Sunday, with fliers seemingly unfazed by a runway crash and fire just hours before that injured dozens.

A brass band played "I'll Be Home For Christmas" and fliers scurried to make flights home with gifts in tow. Departure boards were sprinkled with DELAYED alerts after a Continental flight headed to Houston caught fire and crashed in a ravine off a runway Saturday evening, injuring 38 and slowing holiday traffic when runways on the west side of the airport were shut down.

But most folks heading home for Christmas said they weren't anxious about their flights. By Sunday morning, five of the airport's six runways had reopened.

"I don't worry about those things," said Jackie Robeck, a fashion professor headed home to Louisiana Sunday morning. Robeck's travel plans called for a Continental flight to Houston. Did she think twice about taking that route after Saturday crash? Robeck chuckled, saying the route is her only way home to Lafayette, La.

"I don't get a choice when I'm going to Lafayette," Robeck said.

Other Continental passengers headed to Houston Sunday morning said they paused when they saw television reports Saturday night about the crash.

Houston residents Mark and Bev Minter, who were visiting Estes Park, Colo., for a holiday party over the weekend, were in their hotel room Saturday night when they saw the smoldering Houston plane on TV.

"I was like, 'Can we drive home?"' Bev Minter said with a laugh. "And for a second, I wasn't joking. But I don't fly all that much."

The Minters decided to go ahead and take their Sunday Continental flight to Houston, which was delayed about an hour.

"I fly every week. I wasn't too worried about our flight today," Mark Minter said.

Other Continental travelers to Houston similarly shrugged off the crash. Even Bryan Killett, who flew in from San Francisco Saturday night and saw emergency vehicles screaming down the runway, said he never questioned whether to continue on to his hometown of Baton Rouge, La., Sunday morning.

Killett, 28, is a University of Colorado graduate student in computational geophysics. So, like a good scientist, he weighed his odds and decided to continue with his Continental flight Sunday morning, dismissing any fears of another accident.

"Statistically, it's very remote," the Boulder resident said on his way through the security screening line.