For the passengers, it was a terrifying start to their holiday travel. Maria and Gabriel Trejos, who were on the plane with their 13-month-old son, Elijah, recounted the horrifying ordeal on "Good Morning America" today.
"We started feeling like the plane was slipping or sliding to the left," said Maria Trejos. "I looked out the window, and it was veering -- veering off the runway. And that was our first indication that something was happening."
Gabriel Trejos, who was holding his son in his lap, said the "seats were going loose."
"We were airborne there for a moment, [then] the plane hit the ground quite hard," he said. "And I was just hanging onto the baby as hard as I could, you know, making sure he wasn't going to fly out anywhere." He braced himself, trying to keep Elijah safe without crushing him.
The couple said that after the plane came to a stop, the shocked passengers remained calm for a moment, letting the reality of the incident sink in. Maria Trejos asked a man who had started screaming that the plane could explode, to calm down in an effort to keep the children onboard from becoming more frightened, her husband said.
Maria Trejos said she headed toward a rear exit, but a man attempting to get his luggage out of an overhead bin blocked her path. So she passed her son to her husband, and they found another exit. From there, they slid down a wet, slippery wing.
Nance said this morning on "Good Morning America" that the cause of the crash will take time to figure out.
But travelers preparing to depart for the holidays don't have an overwhelming cause for worry, according to Nance, who said the odds of something like Saturday's crash happening are low. On top of that, he added, the plane held together, a sign of "how tough these aircraft really are. Because they're not designed to go off the runway."
ABC News' Kate Barrett contributed to this report.