US & Canada

US snow: Plane skids off New York runway

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Media captionA passenger described being told to evacuate the plane

A passenger airliner has skidded off the runway at LaGuardia airport in New York City, as a major winter storm bears down on a large part of the US.

Emergency officials helped 127 passengers and five crew off the plane just after 11:00 local time (16:00 GMT), but no one was seriously injured.

Snow and freezing rain has been falling from Texas to New England over the past several hours.

Schools, businesses, and the US government have closed as a result.

Pictures from LaGuardia airport show the plane, a Delta MD-88, resting on an embankment having pushed through a fence.

"That runway had been ploughed literally minutes before, and other pilots had reported good braking action," New York and New Jersey Port Authority Director Patrick Foye told reporters.

The flight, Delta 1086, was attempting to land at LaGuardia after flying from Atlanta. It veered to the left shortly after making contact with the runway, but avoided crashing into nearby Flushing Bay.

Two passengers were transported to a hospital, but no serious injuries have been reported.

Image copyright Reuters
Image copyright EPA
Image caption An injured woman is loaded on to an ambulance

At one point the plane was leaking fuel, but emergency responders were able to stop the leak.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has been dispatched to the scene, Mr Foye said.

The airport has been closed, and is expected to reopen at 19:00 local time, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) says. Planes en route to the LaGuardia have been diverted to nearby airports.

LaGuardia is one of the most difficult airports to land at in the US owing to its close proximity to three other busy airports.

Elsewhere:

  • in Kentucky, motorists have slept overnight in their cars after getting stuck on two highways
  • schools, businesses and local governments across the Northeast and South have closed
  • in Washington, the US government told non-emergency staff to stay home
  • about 82,000 businesses and homes lost power in the state of West Virginia
  • over 4,000 flights have been cancelled

The snow is expected to largely skip Boston, which needs just two more inches of snow to break a record set during the 1995-1996 season.

Image copyright AP
Image caption A snowplough got into trouble in Henderson County, Kentucky
Image copyright EPA
Image caption School children defied a ban to sled on Capitol Hill

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