LaGuardia Airport Runways Reopen After Skid; NTSB Probes Cause

Federal investigators have downloaded the cockpit voice recorder and flight data recorder of the plane that skidded off the runway in a snowstorm at LaGuardia Airport.

The recorders from Delta Air Lines flight 1086 were brought to the National Transportation Safety Board's lab in Washington, D.C. after Thursday's accident.

The accident caused minor injuries to 23 passengers, and the plane came perilously close to landing in Flushing Bay.

The NTSB says it plans to begin interviewing the flight's crew Saturday. 

Meanwhile, both runways have reopened at the airport after the passenger jet skidded off a runway and hit a berm, forcing evacuations, injuring people and grinding traffic at one of the nation's busiest airports to a halt for hours. 

[NATL] 12 Stunning Aerial Photographs of Frozen New York City

The second runway at LaGuardia reopened shortly before 11 a.m. Friday, hours after crews used cranes to remove the plane from its final resting place, wedged on an embankment a few feet from the icy waters of Flushing Bay. Crews had to make repairs to the runway and other parts of the airport that had been damaged during the landing before the strip could reopen. 

The plane was removed to a hangar. Photos obtained exclusively by NBC 4 New York show heavy damage to one of the plane's wings, and the front of the fuselage appears to be crumpled from the impact.

A passenger jet skidded off a runway at LaGuardia Airport and crashed into a fence as it tried to land amid a blinding wintry mix Thursday morning, sparking a minor fuel leak in one of its wings, prompting evacuations and injuring several people, Port Authority officials say. Chris Glorioso reports.

The plane, Delta flight 1086, was inbound from Atlanta when it slid off the runway at about 11 a.m. Thursday and careened into the fence during a blinding wintry mix. The crash sparked a minor fuel leak in one of the vessel's wings, and 127 passengers -- including Giants tight end Larry Donnell and star of the Bravo reality show "Jersey Belle" Jaime Primak Sullivan -- were pulled off the plane. Five crew members were also on the plane. 

See video of evacuations of the Delta flight that skidded off a LaGuardia runway in bad weather Thursday and crashed into a fence.

About 23 people reported minor injuries, officials say, and three were taken to the hospital. All are expected to survive.

Delta said all the passengers have gotten full refunds and that crews worked through the night to begin returning belongings to passengers. 

[NY] Plane Slides Off Runway at LaGuardia

Passengers described feeling turbulence as they landed, like a rocking motion. One said the jet hit the runway and didn't slow down until it smashed into the fence, inches from the water.

After the skid, photos on social media showed the tail of the plane dipping into the snow; the nose was pointed slightly upward and appeared to be damaged. Other photos showed the front of the plane smashed through the fence as passengers climbed out onto a wing and trudged through snow to safety. 

Passenger Naquithae Jamal Taylor talks about the moment his plane skidded off a runway at LaGuardia Airprot Thursday morning.

LaGuardia's two runways were shut down for hours after the skid. One later reopened, but nearly 900 flights out of the airport were canceled.

Your Wintry Weather Photos

[NATL] 12 Stunning Aerial Photographs of Frozen New York City

The NTSB and FAA's investigation comes as some raise questions about when airports should close runways due to wintry weather. 

About 3 inches of snow had fallen in New York at the time of the accident, but wind, sleet and snowflakes combined to hamper visibility and make paved surfaces slippery. NBC 4 New York meteorologists say freezing fog was observed near LaGuardia around 11 a.m., which likely coated the already snow-topped runways with an icy glaze and may have contributed to the accident.

Aviation experts say with congested skies, along with relatively short runways and sometimes rough weather conditions, LaGuardia has a relatively solid safety record. Jonathan Dienst has a look at some past accidents and close calls for some perspective.

There's no rule about how much snow or ice leads to a runway closing. Instead, the Federal Aviation Administration requires airports to measure runways during winter storms to assure planes can safely brake: A specially equipped vehicle races down the runway with a computer checking braking action, and if the runway fails the test it must be closed.

The runway had been plowed minutes before, and two other pilots had reported good braking conditions, said Patrick Foye, executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which runs the airport. It appeared the pilot did everything he could to slow the aircraft, he said

In October, a Delta MD-88 flight from Atlanta with about 63 people on board struck the concrete pier supporting the same runway involved in Thursday's accident, and had its landing gear ripped off. The 75-ton plane skidded, 2,700 feet on its nose wheel and belly; the fuselage cleared the pier by only 16 inches, according to NTSB data. Three minor injuries were reported. 

An aircraft skidded on the runway at LaGuardia Airport and crashed into a fence as a blinding wintry mix coated the region Thursday morning.
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