WestJet plane slips off tarmac in Kelowna blizzard
Airport says some flights have been cancelled or postponed because of snowstorm
A WestJet aircraft slipped off the tarmac into a snowbank at the Kelowna Airport in B.C. this morning while it was preparing for departure during a blizzard.
WestJet Flight 150 had been scheduled to leave Kelowna at 7 a.m. PT for Edmonton. Nobody was injured in the incident, and the 134 passengers have since been taken off the Boeing 737-700.
Passenger Jenafor Kelm said the fully loaded plane was about to be de-iced when it slipped sideways into a snowbank just before 8 a.m.
"I can see the engine in the snow, just the bottom part touching the snow," Kelm told CBC News from aboard the aircraft just after the incident.
In a statement posted on Facebook, WestJet confirmed the nose wheel and the two main gear wheels on the right side of the aircraft slid off the apron, and said the aircraft will undergo a maintenance check to determine if any damage occurred.
The company said passengers will be put on a different flight and will be on their way to Edmonton as soon as WestJet can arrange it.
Kelm was one of the lucky ones. After landing in Edmonton Monday afternoon, she told CBC News that she was able to get one of the few seats WestJet said was available.
"People were crying, upset," she said. "One guy was trying to start a new job in Halifax, one lady was in tears. Another lady lost her trip to Cancun."
Kelm wondered why there were empty seats on her plane when other passengers were told there were no flights available today.
"Very sad to see because people were desperate to come back," she said.
West Jet said that there were only three empty seats and that most people either booked themselves on another flight or cancelled their tickets.
WestJet said at least four flights at the airport were cancelled because of the storm on Monday morning and passengers are advised to check the airline's website for flight updates.
A snowfall warning remained in effect for the Okanagan, with up to 15 centimetres forecast to hit the region Monday.
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