One LaGuardia runway reopened after plane accident shut down airport

A Delta Air Lines jetliner with 127 passengers and five crew members aboard slid off the runway at New York's LaGuardia Airport on Thursday during a snowstorm, according to officials.

Delta Flight 1086 was landing at LaGuardia after flying from Atlanta when it skidded, officials said. Passengers were evacuated from the McDonnell Douglas MD-88 aircraft and moved to the terminal on buses. A Port Authority statement said there did not appear to be any major injuries, and all aboard were safely removed from the plane.

New York's LaGuardia Airport was closed immediately after the incident occurred, with the Federal Aviation Administration originally announced that the airport was expected to fully reopen at 6:59 p.m. EST. This was soon rolled back, as the airport's other runway reopened around 2 p.m.

The Port Authority recommended that travelers with flights scheduled to arrive and depart from the airport still check with their carrier about their status.

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Snow has been falling on New York and surrounding areas through most of Thursday.

Retired airplane pilot Robert Mark told CNBC's "Power Lunch" that "one thing that does seem a bit problematic" is the runway the flight used for a landing. Because the wind was apparently coming off of the plane's tail, he said that this could have posed a problem.

"[Planes] certainly want to be landing into the wind when the runway has something on it like snow, or ice, or water," he said. "And we may find that that becomes a contributing cause to this accident."

Audio from air traffic control at LaGuardia on the Delta 1086 accident / Courtesy LiveATC.net

Pat Foye, the Port Authority's executive director, subsequently said at an afternoon press conference he would not speculate on the cause of the accident. He did say, however, that the runway where the accident occurred had been plowed "literally minutes before" and pilots on other planes reported "good braking action."

Foye explained that it is the Port Authority's responsibility to keep runways clean and operable, but the FAA decides which runways to tell pilots to use.

A passenger is wheeled on a stretcher through Terminal D by emergency medical services workers at LaGuardia Airport in New York March 5, 2015.
Shannon Stapleton | Reuters
A passenger is wheeled on a stretcher through Terminal D by emergency medical services workers at LaGuardia Airport in New York March 5, 2015.

He added that the airport shutdown makes sense because there will be emergency vehicles throughout the facilities—although the reopening could end up being earlier than previously announced.

Port Authority spokesman Joe Pentangelo said the plane went off the runway at around 11:10 a.m. Video from the scene showed that the plane's nose crashed through a fence.

Multiple emergency rescue crews were on the scene and a man and two women, one of them wearing a neck brace, were seen being taken away from the scene in ambulances.

Foye said that two passengers had been transported to hospitals, but that number could change.

The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board said it is investigating the incident at LaGuardia, according to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the operator of the three main airports serving the New York metropolitan area.

Delta issued a statement following the incident confirming the flight number, and indicating the plane exited LaGuardia's Runway 13 during its landing.

Delta Airlines plane at LaGuardia airport
Source: Andy Lopez | Instagram
Delta Airlines plane at LaGuardia airport

"Customers deplaned via aircraft slides and have moved to the terminal on buses. Our priority is ensuring our customers and crew members are safe. Delta will work with all authorities and stakeholders to look into what happened in this incident," the company said in its statement.


Delta stock traded down more than 2 percent Thursday midday, although the stock had already been negative before the incident occurred.

The accident represents the first safety incident for Delta since Dec. 2013, according to the Aviation Safety Network, a database of worldwide aircraft accidents.

The New York City Fire Department's official Twitter account reported that there was a two-alarm response to Laguardia, and that there were reports of a fuel leak. The New York Police Department later confirmed that there had been a "minor fuel spill."

Foye said that the leak had been stopped, and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation inspected the scene.

One Instagram user posted video appearing to show the plane's passengers evacuating the aircraft.

—Reuters and The Associated Press contributed to this report.