Fortunately, no personal injuries have been reported after a Southwest Airlines flight at Chicago-Midway Airport slid off of a runway and into a patch of mud Tuesday afternoon. The flight, which was coming in from Denver, was carrying 134 passengers including five babies in addition to five crew members. According to the Federal Aviation Administration (“FAA”), the plane landed on the runway at a little after 1:00 p.m., sliding off of the left edge near the end of the runway. It came to a stop on a grassy area near the Chicago intersection of Cicero Avenue and 63rd Street, about 150 feet from a wall that separates the airport grounds from the street. The nose was pointed directly at a White Castle drive-through across Cicero Avenue.
The unharmed passengers were taken off of the plane down a wheeled stairway and the runway involved was shut down. The other runways at Chicago Midway Airport remained open. Tuesday’s weather was wet, rainy, and windy. The runway was also wet and winds were 15 knots gusting to 21 knots, according to the Chicago Tribune who had received the information from an aviation source. Passengers Tuesday evening recounted that the landing felt different than most – one passenger involved in the Chicago flight landing accident described that it felt like the plane was landing in a lake because of the water on the runway. Many of the passengers credited the pilot for their safety, saying that he landed in the best way possible, despite the difficulties.
The runway involved is over 6,000 feet long and is actually the longest runway at Chicago-Midway airport. Right now, investigators are working to figure out where the jetliner touched down on the runway before the airplane accident. The airline is working in the investigation with the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board. The NTSB stated that its investigators will examine the cockpit voice reporter, the flight data recorder, and communications between the plane and air traffic controllers. They will also interview the flight crew. They will also download the plane’s black box to determine its speed at the touchdown. Preliminary indications stated that the plane may have been “hot,” referring to its speed, and landed long. The passengers involved in the Chicago-bound flight accident that slid off of the runway will be refunded their ticket cost and receive two free round-trip passes as a gesture of goodwill.
Read more about the Chicago runway accident at Chicago Tribune.