During landing at LaGuardia Airport in Thursday morning’s snowstorm, a Delta jet arriving from Atlanta skidded off the runway, plowing through a berm, and stopping just short of plunging into Flushing Bay. Photographs taken from the bay show the plane’s nose over the edge of the water.
None of the 127 passengers and five crew members on the plane suffered life-threatening injuries, according to the FDNY. Twenty-eight people were injured; five were taken to hospitals. Newsday reports that two passengers were listed in serious but stable condition Thursday night. The airport was shut down after the accident, and did not reopen until 2 p.m., causing numerous delays and cancellations.
Delta flight 1086, an MD-88 aircraft, took off from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport shortly after 9 a.m. and landed on LaGuardia’s Runway 13 at 11:10 a.m. The runway is 7,000 feet long. Patrick Foye, executive director of the Port Authority of New York and Jew Jersey, which operates the airport, said the plane began to veer to the left after about 4,500 feet and “the pilot did everything he could to slow the aircraft down.” According to Newsday, the runway had been plowed minutes before the Delta landing. The New York Times reports that two other flights had landed safely on that runway shortly before the Delta flight arrived.
Passengers exited the plane onto the plane’s right wing. Crews with ladders helped them to the ground and they were then taken by bus to a terminal. The aircraft was leaking fuel after the crash, but the leak was stopped and Foye said there was no fire.
A National Transportation Safety Board investigator photographed the scene. The plane’s flight data and cockpit voice recorders were to be taken to the NTSB’s Washington, D.C., offices, Newsday reports. Investigators will check the airport’s snowplowing and tarmac de-icing operations, but an NTSB spokesperson said it is too early in the investigation to say what part the weather played. National Weather Service reports show it was foggy at the airport, with about a quarter-mile visibility around the time of the accident. The temperature was 26 degrees and snow was falling, with a wind blowing north at 9 mph.