Investigators were looking into why a charter aircraft carrying Indiana Gov. Mike Pence and more than 40 others slid off the runway Thursday night while landing at LaGuardia Airport in the New York City borough of Queens.
NPR’s Scott Detrow reports that Pence, Donald Trump’s running mate, and everyone else on board was safe after the jet touched down in stormy weather and just kept going.
Executive Director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Pat Foye says the pilot slammed on the brakes after making a hard landing in a rainstorm, causing the plane to tear up two tracks of concrete before coming to a stop on a patch of grass.
The New York Times reports:
“Muhammad Jilani, a car service driver who was parked at the Vaughn College of Aeronautics and Technology opposite the runway, said it was raining ‘very, very heavily’ at the time.
“Mr. Jilani said he had heard the loud noise of the plane braking hard and that ‘water was splashing everywhere.’
” ‘It didn’t stop right away,’ said Mr. Jilani, who said he was an airplane buff and liked to watch the runway. Three minutes passed from the time the plane made a full stop until the first emergency response vehicle arrived, he said, noting that he had made it a point to time it.”
Crews worked through the night to remove the plane and both of LaGuardia Airport’s runways have since reopened, according to a statement from The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
On Twitter, Pence says he is grateful that the incident wasn’t more serious.
Pence had been campaigning in Iowa, and before that Nebraska. His flight back to New York had been delayed because of weather. Pence plans to campaign as scheduled on Friday.
At the time of the incident, Donald Trump was campaigning. The New York Times reports:
“Mr. Trump, more than a half-hour into his stump speech in Geneva, Ohio, addressed the matter.
” ‘And by the way, I just spoke to our future vice president and he’s O.K.,’ Mr. Trump told the crowd. ‘Do you know he was in a big accident with the plane? The plane skidded off the runway and was pretty close to grave, grave danger, but I just spoke to Mike Pence, and he’s fine. Got out. Everybody is fine.’ ”
Officials at LaGuardia recommended that passengers set to depart from the airport on Friday check with their airline on the status of their flight.