Flight from Calgary to Saskatoon slides off icy runway
Plane ran into deep snow with more than 50 passengers on board
An Air Canada Jazz Express commuter plane from Calgary appeared to hit an icy patch after landing in Saskatoon Thursday evening and ended up stuck in heavy snow, said a passenger on the flight. There were no apparent injuries.
The incident happened around 5:30 p.m. CST at Saskatoon's Diefenbaker International Airport.
Dominique Delisle was on the plane, a Jazz flight with 52 passengers. Delisle said people waited on the plane for about 30 minutes for a bus to take them from the runway area to the airport.
Delisle told CBC News that the flight was routine, from what he could tell, until they came in for a landing at Saskatoon. He said it appeared there was a lot of snow on the ground and falling at the airport. He said that after the plane touched down, there appeared to be some difficulty in getting from the runway to a taxi-way, or apron, leading to the gate.
"As we approached, the snow was getting more dense and the visibility reduced," Delisle said. "By the time we basically touched down on the runway, I could see there were snowy patches, and ice and the rest of it ... I thought, 'Well, we are doing well, because we are going straight.'"
Jazz Aviation spokeswoman Debra Williams told the Canadian Press that the approach and landing went normally, but the aircraft slid on ice while taxiing to the gate.
She said initial reports indicate no damage to the aircraft, but she said maintenance personnel will be onsite to do a thorough inspection.
Deslisle said he believes the pilot did his best to control the plane. "But the ice has the best of any tires you have on this planet, and all of a sudden, we were basically in the deep," he said.
He said the passengers were calm throughout the incident.
"It was quiet. People were like, 'Okay. What happened?'" he said. "And when they realized what happened, they started pulling out the iPhones, the Samsungs, and the rest of it — clicka-clicka-click — you could hear them going."
A CBC News reporter at the airport said a number of flights scheduled to depart Saskatoon later Thursday evening were delayed.
Stephen Maybury, CEO of the airport authority, gave CBC News no details about what had caused the aircraft to go off the runway Thursday night, but said the runway had been closed, resulting in some other flight cancellations and delays.
"In events like this, we look for mutual aid and mutual support, and this is something that we plan and we practice, and in this case, it's exactly what happened. We require the support of the community and they were there," he said.
With files from the Canadian Press