Highlands & Islands

Plane from Manchester skids off taxiway at Inverness

Plane Image copyright Tracey Smith
Image caption The passengers and crew were uninjured

An aircraft from Manchester with 48 passengers and four crew onboard has come off the taxiway at Inverness Airport.

No one was injured in the incident which happened after the plane landed and while it was taxiing at low speed.

The passengers and crew were able to leave the Flybe Bombardier Dash 8 Q400 aircraft.

Passenger Tracey Smith alerted her family near Taunton with the text: "Oops. My plane is in a field."

She later told BBC Radio Scotland: "We were coming into land and I was looking a the scenery - it is very beautiful up in Inverness.

"I was watching the wheels as we landed. We were thrown forward in our seat belts and the next thing I know we were veering off to the left into the grass."

Mrs Smith added: "It was quite scary at the time. Nobody said anything and everyone looked at each other. I just feel lucky now."

The airport fire service went to the scene, as is routine, but its services were not needed.

The incident involving flight BE202 has disrupted air traffic to and from Inverness, including a flight from London City. It was diverted to Aberdeen.

A spokesman for Inverness Airport said there was nothing to suggest the wintry weather, which saw temperatures in the Highlands fall as low as -12C, was to blame for the incident.

He said: "At 10:14 this morning a Flybe operated Dash 8 aircraft, arriving from Manchester, left the taxiway at Inverness Airport shortly after landing.

"Inverness Airport opened this morning following the standard winter operations processes and the runway and taxiway surfaces were prepared for aircraft operations in accordance with our licensing requirements.

"There is no indication that there were any issues with the runway or taxiway surface conditions, following a number of early morning arrivals and departures.

"As this incident is subject to investigation we cannot speculate on the cause at this point in time.

"The airport is closed to aircraft movements until 14:15, passengers should check in as normal and contact their airlines for further information."

Image caption The aircraft skidded off a taxiway at Inverness Airport

A Flybe spokeswoman said: "Flybe can confirm that when taxiing at low speed at the end of the runway, having landed safely at Inverness Airport this morning, the wheels of the Q400 aircraft skidded on the surface of the airfield, causing it to slide on to the grass.

"The passengers and four crew were unharmed and exited the aircraft by the stairs for bus transfer to the terminal, where they collected their luggage as normal.

"The safety of its passengers and crew is the airline's number one priority and Flybe regrets any inconvenience experienced as a result of this incident."

An investigation into the circumstances of the incident is being carried out by the Air Accident Investigation Branch.

On 2 January, four people were injured after a plane came off the runway at Stornoway Airport on the Isle of Lewis.

The Flybe service using Loganair aircraft and staff was due to fly to Glasgow.

It was thought it may have been caught in strong crosswinds.

There were 25 passengers and three crew members on the aircraft.

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