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Airplane’s Stairway Jams

April 16, 2000

GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (AP) _ Heavy machinery had to be called in when passengers and crew members were stuck on a chartered airplane for four hours, unable to disembark because the aircraft’s stairway was jammed.

The Sierra Pacific plane, a Boeing 737, was supposed to take 113 passengers on a gambling trip to Nevada on Saturday.

However, the plane couldn’t take off from Central Nebraska Regional Airport because its stairway retracted only part way and jammed, airport officials said.

The passengers and six crew members spent the next four hours waiting for repairs.

Finally, airport workers drove a front-end loader up to the plane and lowered everyone to the ground with the machine’s snow bucket.

Shortly after their unconventional disembarkation, the stairway was fixed, everyone got back on and the plane took off.

``It’s just something to expect when you travel,″ said passenger Ralph Peshek of Hastings.

The airport has considered buying a stairway that can be rolled up to an airplane.

Update hourly