Boeing Jet Slides Off Chicago Runway

Apr 27, 2011, 09:34 by David Hope

A Boeing jet in Southwest Airlines' fleet slid off a wet runway at Chicago's Midway Airport Tuesday, rolling to a stop without anyone getting hurt, airline officials said.

Southwest Flight 1919, a Boeing 737-700 carrying 134 passengers and five crew members on a flight from Denver, had just landed at 1:35 p.m. CDT when it slid off the left edge of the runway before reaching the end of the strip, the Chicago Tribune reported.

The runway was wet following a rainstorm and at the time of the landing, winds at the airport were clocked at 15 knots, with gusts as high as 21 knots, the newspaper said, citing an aviation source familiar with a preliminary investigation.

The jetliner came to a stop on the grass near 63rd Street and Cicero Avenue about 150 feet short of a wall that separates the street from the airport. Passengers used a wheeled stairway to exit the plane and the runway was shut down for a time, Federal Aviation Administration officials said.

Charles Moelter, a passenger on Flight 1919, told the Tribune he thinks the pilot intentionally guided the plane off the runway to get it to stop. He said the pilot "saved us."

"If he would have landed another 2 or 3 seconds down the runway, we would have been all over Cicero Avenue," Moelter said.

However, the aviation source cited by the newspaper said there were "preliminary indications that the plane may have been hot and landed long," and that investigators will look into the plane's speed and the location where it touched down on the runway.

The National Transportation Safety Board said it will examine flight data and interview crew members as part of its investigation.

Source: UPI