United Plane Slips off Peoria Runway

By Jeff Muniz

July 15, 2010 Updated Dec 23, 2008 at 7:15 PM CDT

Holiday travel is creating headaches all across the area. From the roadways to even the runways, it's rough traveling.

United Flight 6259 from Chicago never made it to the Peoria Airport terminal. After landing around 9:20 Tuesday morning, the regional jet tried to turn on the taxiway but instead slid into snow and ice-covered grass.

"You felt it definitely went off and all the wheels went off and we kept going and you just felt it and you were basically driving on snow," Passenger Lori Yates says.

Fortunately, none of the 28 passengers or 3 crew members were injured.

"It was just a slow, gentle slide. It wasn't really scary and nobody on the plane was panicked or anything. We all just sat there and went huh," Passenger Jane Goett says.

For Goett, it's the end of rough trip full of delays that took her more than a day to get to Peoria.

Still, she feels lucky considering what happened just three days earlier in Denver when 38 people were injured after a Continental Plane ran off the runway.

"As we were landing, I had a thought about what happened in Denver over the weekend and I hope something like that doesn't happen. But, when it did it was so unreal," Goett says.

Airport officials say just before the plane landed crews were clearing off that runway of some light snow.

"The air traffic control operator asked what the braking action was and the crew said the braking action was good," Peoria International Airport Assistant Director John Backer says.

The airport along with the airline and NTSB are investigating the exact cause. Passengers put the onus on the weather.

"You could see where the rough spots of ice were and snow pack was on the runway," Goett says.

"I've flown hundreds of times all over the world and never had anything like this happen so it's memorable for sure," Yates says.

A new holiday memory with thankfully a happy ending even if it took two extra hours to get luggage and go home.

The plane was scheduled to fly back to Chicago, but those passengers were instead bussed to O'Hare. The wintry messy across the Midwest means numerous flights have been cancelled or delayed.

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