A Delta airplane slid off a runway late Thursday morning at New York’s LaGuardia Airport, its nose busting through a fence before skidding to a halt mere feet from frigid waters.
Delta Flight 1086 briefly circled New York City due to issues with snow and ice before touching down shortly after 11 a.m., passenger Jared Faellaci told CNN. Almost as soon as it did, those aboard realized something was wrong — the aircraft’s wheels seemed to have little to no traction, sliding for about 20 seconds.
“You didn’t feel the wheels take,” Faellaci said. Then it was a matter of “where we are going to end up,” he said.
About 4,500 to 5,000 feet down Runway 13, the MD-88 veered to the left and mercifully stopped on a small embankment.
A little farther, and the plane — with 127 passengers and five crew members — would have been in the icy waters of Flushing Bay rather than on the airport’s snow-covered ground.
Contrary to what Delta said in a statement, the aircraft’s slides did not deploy, according to Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Executive Director Patrick Foye. Still, with help from first responders, everyone was able to get off and onto buses that took them to LaGuardia’s Delta terminal.
Video shows passengers exiting the plane into the sub-freezing temperatures, as emergency vehicles converged on the area.
Twenty-four people suffered non-life-threatening injuries. Three of those were transported to nearby hospitals, New York’s fire department tweeted.
Image / Delta jet as it came to rest / FDNY