Incident Closes Airport Sunday Afternoon
All 118 passengers and five
crewmembers onboard a Southwest Airlines 737 are safe, after the
plane apparently slid off a snow-slicked taxiway after landing at
Washington's Spokane International Airport (GEG) Sunday
The Associated Press reports Flight 485, inbound from Portland,
OR, was taxiing to the gate at around 1:40 pm when the plane's
nosegear departed the snow-covered taxiway.
That account differed from one passenger's statements, however.
Tad Dixon told Spokane television station KREM-2 the aircraft slid
off the runway on landing.
"As we touched down and were trying to brake, the plane started
to slide sideways and sure enough, we slid off the end of the
runway," Dixon said, talking on his cell phone while still onboard
the stricken plane. "Everyone came to a roaring applause that we
Another passenger emailed the station, writing "one Alaska Air
jet did land behind us" immediately after the incident, "and
stopped in time to avoid crashing into our plane."
Airport spokesman Todd Woodard told The Spokesman-Review
newspaper heavy snow had been falling in the area since Saturday
afternoon, and at the time of the incident a half-inch of wet snow
covered the ground.
"We don't have any ice on the runway; we were pretty vigilant
about that," Woodard added. The skidding plane did take out several
The airport closed to inbound and outbound traffic until crews
were able to move the stricken jet. Flights resumed shortly after
Southwest spokesperson Brandy King said an inspection of the
plane didn't show any apparent damage, but the plane would remain
grounded until a more-thorough investigation could be conducted.
The airline suspended its operations at GEG for the rest of the
Mechanical failure is not suspected to be a factor in the
incident, King added.