When people think about boarding an airplane, their leading fear is always going to be the mechanical bird falling out of the sky.
But the idea of the plane sliding off the runway isn’t too appealing, either.
American Airlines wasn’t quite ready for the icy chill that hit Chicago this week when one of their planes came in from North Carolina and slid off the runway when it attempted to touch down in windy Chicago.
There’s a reason for the nickname Windy City, folks.
Illinois, like many of the surrounding states, experienced extreme drops in temperature this week, as well as multiple inches of snow, chilling wind gusts and extreme flooding from waves created on Lake Michigan.
Unknown to the pilots, the runway was not only covered in snow, but it was also slick and icy.
In a video caught by one of the passengers from the moment of touchdown, we see the plane slowly spiral out to the left, turning away from the runway and over to the grass lining the edge. At the end, the plane dips, and its right wing gets stuck in the snow.
Someone can be heard in the background saying:
“I think we landed.”
You can watch the video here:
.@AmericanAir: “After landing, American Eagle flight 4125,operated by Envoy Air, slid off the runway due to icy conditions at Chicago O’Hare. No injuries reported.All 38 passengers and 3 crew members were deplaned from the aircraft and are now safely back in the terminal.” #ABC11 pic.twitter.com/ijFecAlsSl
— Andrea Blanford (@AndreaABC11) November 11, 2019
American Airlines spokesperson, Sarah Jantz, said in a statement:
“After landing, American Eagle flight 4125, operated by Envoy Air, slid off the runway due to icy conditions at Chicago O’Hare. All 38 passengers and 3 crew members were deplaned from the aircraft and are now safely back in the terminal.”
Though this story has a happy ending, multiple passengers reported that the visibility was bad and the pilots should have been allowed to wait to land.
Passenger Shaun Steele said:
“That was our second landing attempt. The first one, we went back up after we noticed conditions were bad. We made a loop for about 20 minutes… As soon as we landed, we could start feeling something a little off there and we tried to do a little turn and that’s when we started going sideways.”
Fellow passenger, Luis Torres Curet, agreed:
“The conditions here were very bad. It was windy and it was icy. They should have known that. There was ice on the road, there was wind coming across. They attempted one landing. It failed, and they came back and attempted again, and we’re lucky that we had a very competent pilot there that knew what to do.”
Curet went on to explain that he and his fellow passengers could feel the plane zig-zagging on the runway prior to when one passenger recorded the video of the crash.
It was shared that the pilot had attempted to stop the plane, which caused it to zig-zag before the landing gear actually broke off and the plane skidded off the runway.
“Then the plane actually went sideways, and then the wing—the actual right wing—stopped the plane from capsizing once we got off the runway.”
More than 600 flights were canceled on Monday, and hundreds more were delayed.
This isn’t the first time something like this has happened at the Chicago O’Hare airport. In 2018, the FAA issued a warning to Illinois for how it was handling its flights in and out of O’Hare during intense weather conditions.
Many commented on the video shared on Twitter.
They shared their relief everyone from the flight is fine, as well as the importance of a pilot who knows what they’re doing.
Love the lady at the end, “I think we landed!” ????
— Yasser A. Kishk (@yakishk) November 11, 2019
I like the woman that says I think we landed
the Pilot did a Fabulous SAVE on this landing
the Weather was not safe to fly or land
the Runway should have been cleared better
They all go home alive and safe- it is a good day
— Verified 1 Good Guy! (@LAmaleCA) November 11, 2019
Looks like runway is not properly treated. This should not happen.
— Ronald Likover (@LikoverRonald) November 11, 2019
Scary… but thank goodness for good pilots to minimize the damage.
— Scott Rein (@scott_rein) November 11, 2019
???? yikes! Glad everyone is okay.
— Jane (@dcjovifanjane) November 11, 2019
We’re grateful for the happy ending for Flight 4125.
But as holiday travel peaks approach, let this be a reminder of taking proper safety precautions this winter—whether you’ll be in the air or on the road.