An Air Canada Airbus A320 drifted off the runway upon arrival at Halifax International Airport on Sunday morning.
The Canadian airline announced that 18 passengers received treatment by paramedics after suffering non life-threatening injuries.
The incident, which happened shortly before 1am local time, forced 23 passengers and crew to be sent to area hospitals for observation and treatment of minor injuries, according Air Canada’s website. Flight AC624, which left Toronto late on Sunday, was carrying 133 passengers and five crew members.
The airline did not mention what caused the Airbus A320 to leave the runway after landing at Stanfield International Airport. The heavy snow falling in the eastern Canadian city could have been to blame. Environment Canada issued a snowfall alert warning of low visibility for the time of the crash.
Two of the injured passengers needed “urgent attention”, while most were treated for minor cuts and bruises. One passenger said all the passengers, including the injured, were made to wait in the snow after leaving the plane. “There was a couple of people, all bloodied. Everybody was able to get out, but what was worse was that they left us for an hour outside in the blowing snow,” Lianne Clark told the Canadian Broadcast Corporation.
She added that some passengers ran away from the plane “because the fuel was coming out and we were scared”. According to the airport’s spokesperson, the Halifax International Airport was out of power at the time of the incident, but back-up generators were running when the flight landed and the runways were lit.
The Transportation Safety Board of Canada sent a team on site to investigate the cause of the accident and both runways remained closed overnight, while one of them was scheduled to reopen in the next hours.
Peter Spurway, the spokesman for the airport, explained the plane “took a very hard landing and skidded off the runway.”
Passengers speaking to the Associated Press said they think the aircraft hit a power line as it descended to land. They also described the plane sliding on its belly for some time. Passengers added they evacuated the plane, but they had to wait in the middle of the snowstorm for more than an hour before buses arrived.
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