Plane arriving from Toronto slides off Halifax airport runway
HALIFAX -- In Halifax, Sunday's weather caused many problems, including some worrying moments for passengers on an aircraft, which slid off the runway the Halifax Stanfield International Airport.
Early in the afternoon, WestJet flight 248 attempted a landing -- but it didn’t go as planned.
“We were basically just going down to land the plane, and it was a little bumpy,” said passenger Bailey Kinnear. “I'm pretty sure we landed on the runway and then just slid off into the grass.”
Awaiting assistance, 179 people sat idle onboard the plane for nearly one hour, watching as emergency crews gathered outside.
Airport and WestJet staff inspected the plane, which was en route from Toronto, before getting the passengers onto shuttle busses and bringing them into the airport.
“I have to get my luggage tomorrow, I guess, or they're going to deliver it,” said passenger Amy Paleczny. “So, it's kind of annoying.”
Fortunately, no injuries were reported, and the runway was immediately closed by airport staff.
“We'll continue to work with WestJet in relation to this incident,” said Halifax International Airport Authority spokesperson, Tiffany Chase. “What I can say is that operations do continue here at the Halifax Airport on the other runway, although ongoing winter conditions are affecting some flights, so passengers who are planning to travel today should check their flight status directly with their airlines.”
Meanwhile, conditions were hazardous outside of the airport area as well, with winds gusting over 60 km/h through most of Nova Scotia and becoming stronger as the day wore on.
“Right now, the system is south of us, about 250 kilometres,” said Environment Canada meteorologist Mel Lemmon. “As it strengthens, the winds are getting a lot stronger for Cape Breton, and then even stronger for eastern parts of Newfoundland."
In the Halifax area, the snow began in the morning. However, forecasts predicted it would die down to flurries in the evening. City crews plowed streets and sidewalks throughout the day, attempting to keep streets clear. However, driving conditions were nonetheless dangerous.
Police responded to 10 motor vehicle accidents, including one on Larry Uteck Boulevard, where a car slammed into the steps of a house. Fortunately, no injuries were reported.
Overall, nearly 10 cm of snow fell In HRM in one of the largest snow events yet in the season – giving residents a preview of winter weather to come.
“This just a little bit today and I can handle this, but when it gets a little more severe, we've got good neighbours, and we've got some machinery and stuff like that,” said resident Robert Brownell. “So, if it gets a little deep, we're kind of prepared as neighbours.”
Meanwhile, some people have already had enough.
“I'm already ready for it to be over,” says resident Trent Rideout. “I'm not much of a winter person.”
However, there is more snow on the way. After a break from the blustery weather on Monday, another storm is expected in the region on Wednesday.
“So, we have this storm; and on its tail is another storm coming in a few days – probably the middle of the week, we have another system that looks very similar to this one,” says Lemmon. “We're keeping an eye on that one.”
Meanwhile, WestJet cancelled three of its flights, including both incoming and departing flights, following the incident at the Halifax airport. In addition, the Transportation and Safety Board is sending a team to the airport to investigate the incident and discover what factors contributed to the less-than-smooth landing.