No injuries were reported.
ISLIP, NY (MorichesDaily) — Federal aviation investigators are looking into why an airplane veered off the taxiway at MacArthur Airport in Islip and into the grass Thursday morning, forcing passengers to evacuate onto the runway.
The Southwest Airlines 737 jet bound for Tampa, Florida apparently made a wrong turn off the taxiway and ended up in the grassy area just before 7 a.m.
The plane was carrying 129 passengers and five crew members, said Inez Birbiglia, an airport spokeswoman. She said there were no injuries to those on board.
The Southwest Flight 4695 was headed nonstop for Tampa, Fla., when it veered off the taxiway. The Boeing 737 was scheduled to depart at 6:15 a.m. Suffolk County police said the jet was headed for the runway when it went into a muddy area.
It is unclear if weather played a role in the incident, but a powerful Nor’easter with winds in excess of 50 MPH were reported overnight and into this morning.
Southwest Flight 4695 was scheduled to depart MacArthur Airport at 6:15 a.m. and arrive in Tampa at 8:51 a.m.
During radio communications with air traffic controllers, one of the pilots of Flight 4695 announced that “we just made your day more interesting” after the plane became stuck.
“We just taxied off the taxiway into the grass,” the pilot said, according to a recording posted to LiveATC.net. “We’re going to have to get the people off the aircraft and something in here to tow the aircraft onto the pavement.”
While waiting to board another plane, passenger Fran Carlson, a Tampa resident, recalled the incident, saying she heard a loud noise and the plane came to a stop.
“It was kind of like a bang, then the plane went on its side a little,” said Carlson, who was heading home after spending Christmas with her children in Oakdale and Lake Grove.
Carlson, 69, said the pilot came on the intercom soon after and explained what happened.
“He said it was very dark and he couldn’t see,” she said.
It appears the plane took a misturn in the rain, left the taxiway and came to a stop in the mud. The plane appeared to be tilting to the side.
The passengers and crew were evacuated from the plane onto the tarmac and bused back to the terminal.
The airport was not closed.