HALIFAX – A large passenger jet skidded off the end of a runway at Halifax International Airport during a snowstorm on Sunday, but WestJet spokesman said there were no injuries.
These confirmed Flight 248 was en route from Toronto to Halifax and had landed just after midday when the jet overshot Runway 14 with 172 passengers and a crew of seven.
Photos from the scene suggest Boeing 737-800 escaped major damage. However, airport authorities confirmed that air leaving a defect at the end of Runway 14/32.
WestJet flight 248 from Toronto to Halifax experienced an incident this morning when it departed the end of the runway after landing normally. There are no injuries to the 172 guests and seven crew members. #WS248
— WestJet (@WestJet) January 5, 2020
Passenger Eric Wynne, a photographer with the daily Halifax Chronicle-Herald, said the landing was “a little chaotic.”
“It was a little more violent, in that I’m sure (the plane) had a bit of wind shear,” he said in an interview. “As we hit the tarmac, it was rocking, rolling side to side, but the aircrew kept it true and straight.”
A WestJet aircraft is currently disabled at the end of runway 14/32. We’re in the process of transporting passengers from the aircraft to the terminal building. No injuries are reported at this time.
— Halifax Stanfield (@HfxStanfield) January 5, 2020
Wynne said once the aircraft settled down, everything seemed normal — until the plane came to a stop.
“We saw snow-covered grass outside the windows,” he said. “And then the pilot came on and said we slid off the runway.”
Transition to the grassy area is a smooth one, said Wynne.
“It was just like I was driving my car and ended up on the shoulder,” he said, adding that the jet appears to have traveled about 50 meters beyond the runway.
A Westjet plane has slid off the runway at Halifax Airport. Multiple tweets from people on the flight suggest everyone is ok. Buses are transporting passengers back to the airport. @CTVAtlantic pic.twitter.com/FqtmKxhGyD
— Cory McGraw (@McgrawCory) January 5, 2020
“It was snowing, but not much,” he said. “But there is no accumulation on the ground.”
Wynne said the crew and passengers to remain calm as the bus arrived to take them to the terminal.
All the passengers were transferred from the stricken plane by 02:30
Airport firefighters checking to see if there any damage pic.twitter.com/ysqDC8Y1TG
— Eric Wynne (@EricW_Photos) January 5, 2020
The eastern part of the province, including the area east of Halifax, is under a winter storm warning at the time. heavy snow and whiteout conditions were clear at the airport after the plane crashed.
WestJet spokeswoman Lauren Stewart said the airline later issued an apology to the tourists and canceled three flights to St John, Halifax and Toronto.
Later in the day, the Transportation Safety Board of Canada confirmed it would send an investigative team to the airport. An independent body to investigate air, rail, marine and pipeline accidents.
On November 7, 2018, a Boeing 747 cargo jet overshot the same runway, plowed through several approach lights and navigation gear, and came close to crashing into the fence outside the airport.
SkyLease Cargo Aircraft severely damaged by the slide 210 meters from the end of the runway in rainy conditions while being buffeted by a crosswind with a potential towing.
KKE Flight 4854, which had arrived from Chicago just after 5:00 after hours of flight two-and-a-half, it must be loaded with live lobsters destined for China.
At that time, airport authorities are in the process of installation of the safety area of runway-end, a kind of buffer strips that give the aircraft extra stopping distance and may reduce damage and risks to passengers in the event of an overrun.
Transportation Safety Board said all runways longer than 1,800 meters must have a 300-meter runway end safety area or a means of stopping aircraft that provides an equivalent level of safety. Runway 14 is 2,300 meters long.
Since 2005, there have been 140 overruns runway in Canada, 19 of which have been the subject of a comprehensive TSB investigation.
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