By Murray Weiss and Aidan Gardiner – DNAinfo
An airplane skidded off the runway at LaGuardia Airport after landing during a snowy Thursday morning, coming to rest on an earthen berm just feet from Flushing Bay, sources said. There were two minor injuries.
Delta Flight 1086, an MD88 which had been coming from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, slid off the tarmac at the Queens airport about 11:09 a.m., airport officials said.
“It was nerve racking,” said Margaret Laney, who was flying with her husband and two small children. “The plane came down and it slipped and took an extreme left. We looked out the window and we could see that the wing was hitting a fence.”
Laney made light of the crash to the children, “I told them that they had slid before, they could slide down again.”
The plane, which had 127 passengers and five crew members on board, was leaking jet fuel but there were no reports of fire, sources said.
Two unidentified injured passengers were taken to an area hospitals, Patrick Foye, Port Authority director said.
The FDNY was scene evaluating passengers and crew, but there were no reports of any serious injuries, officials said.
After the plane came to rest on a berm off the runway — feet short of Flushing Bay — passengers evacuating along the right wing of the plane and busing them to the Delta terminal, Foye said.
The director said that five minutes prior to the crash two pilots who had landed reported “good braking action.” He said that the runway had just been plowed just minutes before the accident.
Delta Airlines did not immediately explain why the plane slid, but said that it “exited” the runway.
“Our priority is ensuring our customers and crew members are safe,” airline officials said. “Delta will work with all authorities and stakeholders to look into what happened in this incident.”
Ismael Lateef, who was flying into the city to meet life coach Tony Robbins, said the . “I think everybody was pretty much in survival mode,” he said. “I think a lot of people are like, when life throws us challenges it’s all about our reflexes. Luckily, the crew was pretty good.”
The National Transportation Safety Board was gathering information about the incident, the federal agency said on Twitter.
Port Authority firefighters sprayed foam on the fuel, which was leaking at a rate of a gallon a minute.
The airport was shut down after the incident but officials planned to reopen one runway about 2 p.m. Thursday, according to the FAA’s website.
The airport had been administering a traffic management program because of the snowy weather Thursday morning, according to the FAA. That was delaying incoming flights about 2 hours and 30 minutes before the crash, officials said.
It was not immediately clear why the airport was open given the weather that was hitting New York Thursday morning.
The airport was socked with freezing fog and snow that brought visibility down to within a quarter of a mile with a 9 mph wind chilling the airport to 17 degrees as of 10:50 a.m., shortly before the plane slid off the runway, according to a National Weather Service spokesman.