‘This is Canada. Everyone was so polite and nice and accommodating,’ passenger says
The Transportation Safety Board is investigating after an Air Canada plane arriving from Halifax with 112 passengers slid off the runway early Saturday at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport in heavy fog and rain.
No one was injured in the incident involving Flight 623, which occurred shortly after midnight, according to Peel Regional Police and the Greater Toronto Airports Authority.
The plane has been towed off the runway and GTAA officials are inspecting the runway. The airports authority said cleanup and repairs would begin shortly.
Passenger Paul Varian told CBC News the incident appeared to have damaged the undercarriage of the plane.
“The whole of the undercarriage on my side, on the left-hand side, when we took a look while we were deplaning, was destroyed. The tires were completely gone off the wheel,” he said.
Varian said passengers were calm throughout the incident and the flight crew was helpful as passengers got off the plane.
“This is Canada. Everyone was so polite and nice and accommodating.”
She said the airline is relieved that nobody was hurt.
“Our focus was our passengers that were quickly bused to the airport and met by and tended to by a team of Air Canada employees and managers,” Arthur said.
“We have provided them with hotel accommodations and limousines for those wishing to head home.”
The side of the aircraft, an Airbus A320, was covered in mud after the incident.
“We apologize for the inconvenience and will be in touch with our customers to follow up on the event and ensure they are all well taken care of,” Arthur said.
Julie Leroux, spokeswoman for the Transportation Safety Board, said in an interview from Gatineau, Que., that two investigators from the TSB were on the scene.
“The investigators on site will examine the aircraft. They will collect data. They will ask for the data recorder, also called the black box. They will take photos for the investigation. They will conduct interviews with witnesses and the company. They will move the aircraft today,” she said.
She called the incident a “runway incursion” and said there are “no reported injuries for now.”
Mississauga Fire and Emergency Services, along with Peel Regional Paramedic Services, were called to the scene.
Const. Harinder Sohi, spokesman for Peel police, said the pilot was able to get the plane back on the runway.
No delays expected
Natalie Moncur, spokeswoman for the Greater Toronto Airports Authority, said the incident was not expected to affect any other flights.
Passenger Varian, who didn’t know the plane had left the runway until he was in the terminal, said the flight was delayed leaving Halifax. He said the clouds were quite low during landing in Toronto and the landing gear “blew.”
“We landed heavily, nothing that I would say was traumatically heavily. We just landed quite heavily on the tarmac and the plane lurched a bit to the left. Then the pilot applied heavy brakes. That threw everyone forward a bit,” he said.
‘Black residue on my window’
The plane came to an abrupt halt on the runway.
“We stopped there. And it was pretty clear to me that something was wrong because I looked out my window and there was a lot of black residue on my window and the windows beside me.”
He said that after about an hour and a half, the passengers disembarked and were taken in buses back to the terminal.