Polish tech-death masters DECAPITATED have canceled their performance at the U.K.'s Damnation Festival this weekend after surviving a crash landing (see video below). The musicians were flying back to their native country from the United States when the plane they were on landed on its belly at Warsaw airport after trouble opening its landing gear. None of the 230 people aboard were hurt in Tuesday's accident, which caused the closure of Fryderyk Chopin Airport to arrivals and departures for more than 30 hours.
"I was praying for the pilot not to lose control because we started to make circles over the airport. It was terrible," passenger Teresa Kowalik told reporters at the airport. "We owe everything to the pilot. He really did a great job."
The pilot told passengers four hours into the flight from Newark, New Jersey that the plane faced technical problems, said another female passenger.
"The pilot addressed us a number of times and said we should follow instructions. Later, a flight attendant said there might be a fire, and at that point people began to get nervous and uncertain," she said.
The landing itself was so smooth that "we all thought we had landed on wheels," Andrzej Pinno, a 68-year-old passenger, told the Associated Press.
Passengers even applauded, but then grew alarmed when sparks and black smoke rose from the plane. "This is the moment where we realized this was not a normal landing," added Pinno.
DECAPITATED has issued the following statement: "We are extremely sorry to inform our fans that due to unforeseen circumstances that are out of our control, we will, unfortunately, have to cancel our shows in Aalborg (Aalborg Metal Festival) and Leeds (Damnation Festival)."
Damnation Festival organizer Gavin McInally commented: "It's a major blow to the festival to lose a band like DECAPITATED, especially with only days to go, but I understand entirely why they need time to recover from what must have been a terrifying incident. It's disappointing news for both us and the band but most importantly, no one was seriously injured and hopefully we will be able to host DECAPITATED in the future."
ULVER will now play an extended set of 90 minutes (starting at 21:30 instead 22:00) at the Damnation Festival.
DECAPITATED drummer Witold "Vitek" Kieltyka died on November 2, 2007 in a Russian hospital from injuries sustained in a road collision. DECAPITATED singer Covan (real name: Adrian Kowanek) was also hurt in the accident, which involved the band's tour bus and a truck carrying wood in Gomel, on the Russia/Belarus border.