Local News

Radio transmissions point to runway conditions in plane incident

60 passengers on flight were not injured

MADISON, Wis. - Radio transmissions point to runway conditions in plane incident

It had been snowing for several hours when Delta Airlines flight 385 landed at Dane County Regional Airport. As the plane reached the end of the runway and was preparing to turn onto a taxiway the 737 slid off the pavement.

The plane, which was carrying 60 passengers on a flight from Minneapolis-St. Paul, came to rest in the snow. Within 45 minutes those passengers were taken to the airport terminal. No one was injured during the incident.

Radio transmissions from the scene in the moments following the plane sliding off indicate runway conditions may have played a role.

"I'm pretty sure that probably the last 100 feet there is practically nil on the braking now," said ground personnel referring to the runway.

Greg Feith, a former NTSB investigator and aviation expert, said those conditions will be looked at by Federal Aviation Administration officials.

"That is a telltale sign where they say the last 100 feet of that runway breaking action nil, which means it is virtually nonexistent and for the pilots that is a scary thing only because if it is nil, even if they applied the brakes, that airplane is going to slide," Feith said.

He said given those runway conditions and the size of the plane, the pilots had little chance of stopping the plane.

"You're over 100,000 pounds weight and once that momentum gets going on basically an ice skating rink, you're not going to get it stopped," Feith said.

A brief statement released by officials at Dane County Regional Airport said the incident is being reviewed by the FAA and the airport is using standard procedures.

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