WestJet Boeing 737 Slides Off Runway At Halifax Airport

A WestJet Boeing 737-800 has slid off a runway in icy Halifax. No injuries have been reported but the apparently undamaged aircraft has blocked a runway at the airport.

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A Westjet Boeing 737-800. Not involved in the incident. Photo: Acefitt via Wikipedia

What are the details?

Flight WS248 was flying into Halifax amid snowy and icy conditions on Sunday. The plucky Boeing 737-800 was pushing north from Toronto on a two-hour journey.

The aircraft made a normal approach to Halifax Stanfield International Airport and was able to land on the first attempt. At around 12 PM local time, it touched its wheels on the runway and rolled to a stop.

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The flight path up from Toronto. Photo: Flight Aware

It was only then when the pilots and passengers realized something was wrong.

“We were basically just going down to land the plane, and it was a little bumpy,” said passenger, Bailey Kinnear to CTV News “I’m pretty sure we landed on the runway and then just slid off into the grass.”

An uneducated guess would show that the aircraft had simply failed to get traction on the runway and continued to slide after the tarmac had ended.

Another Passenger, Stephen Crouchman, spoke to CBC about how normal the landing was.

“I really didn’t know anything was wrong until I looked out the window and there was grass on both sides of the plane,”

What happened next?

Not wanting to leave the passengers stranded out in the middle of a grassy field, airport fire services raced out to meet the aircraft.

For approximately an hour, ground staff and maintenance looked over the aircraft to see if the aircraft had been damaged. Once they believed it was safe for passengers to leave, they organized for the aircraft to be deplaned where it stood.

Passengers did have to use stairs in the icy wind and board some small buses, but passengers seemed relatively calm and patient about the whole ordeal.

“I was expecting to be there for quite a while, but they were pretty efficient at coming out to get us,” continued Crouchman to CBC.

The aircraft was deplaned in around 45 minutes.

WestJet took to twitter to inform all those waiting for passengers at the terminal about the delays.

Luggage was another problem entirely. Because the incident would need to be investigated by WestJet, Transportation Safety Board of Canada and Halifax Airport, passengers might be waiting more than a day to get their belongings.

“We’ll obviously look into what happened in the incident of this particular aircraft, and take any learnings that we can into account,” said Tiffany Chase, spokesperson for Halifax International Airport Authority to CBC.

The aircraft was carrying seven crew members and 172 passengers, but none, fortunately, suffered a single injury. Only mild inconvenience.

The event did mean some cancellations but judging by how slippery the runway was maybe it was for the best.

Since this event took place, the aircraft has been released by authorities pending investigation.

Simple Flying reached out to WestJet for comment:

WestJet flight 248 from Toronto to Halifax experienced an incident yesterday morning when it departed the end of the runway after landing normally. There were no injuries to the 172 guests and seven crew members.

WestJet worked with Halifax airport authority to ensure guests’ and crews’ continued safety while they deplaned the aircraft via airstairs and were bussed to the terminal.

WestJet apologizes to our guests for this experience and worked directly with them to ensure their comfort during the situation including providing water service while awaiting the arrival of the airstairs. Any guests who required hotel/meal/re-accommodation were also provided this as soon as possible.

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