Plane slides off tarmac at Kelowna airport amid heavy snow
Published Monday, January 7, 2013 1:37PM EST
Last Updated Monday, January 7, 2013 3:58PM EST
An Edmonton-bound WestJet flight slid off the tarmac at the Kelowna International Airport early Monday morning as heavy snow blanketed the area.
Flight 150 had left the gate and was headed to the runway shortly before 8 a.m. when it was unhooked from its tug and its nose wheel and right-side gear wheels skidded into the snow. The aircraft was still on the apron, or the portion of the tarmac used to load and unload planes, when the incident occurred.
None of the 134 passengers or six crew members onboard was injured, the airline said in a statement. All passengers were brought back to the terminal and will be rebooked on other flights or put up in local hotels.
The aircraft will undergo a safety check to look for damage, the airline said.
WestJet spokesperson Robert Palmer said in addition to being put up in hotels, passengers will also receive meal vouchers until they are able to resume their travels. Passengers will likely be put on a flight to Edmonton on Tuesday unless the weather improvesearlier, Palmer said.
The airline warned passengers that due to heavy snow and poor visibility in the area, four of its flights into and out of the Kelowna airport have been cancelled for Monday. Passengers are advised to check the status of their flights before heading to the airport in case of further cancellations or delays.
Sam Samaddar, director of the Kelowna airport, said all flights that had been scheduled to take off from the airport after 8 a.m. were cancelled due to the winter weather. Samaddar told CTV British Columbia that some early inbound flights were also cancelled, but others were allowed to land as visibility improved later in the morning.
“We’re obviously experiencing heavy snow in Kelowna and low visibility,” Samaddar said. “Lots of passengers have to rebook their flights.”
Samaddar said it was unclear when normal operations will resume.
The Kelowna airport handles 62 flights daily, mostly servicing western Canada.