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Plane Skids Off Runway At LaGuardia Airport

October 19, 1996

NEW YORK (AP) _ A Delta jetliner skidded off the runway as it landed during a violent storm at LaGuardia Airport on Saturday. All aboard were evacuated safely, police said.

The landing gear apparently failed and the plane skidded off Runway 13 at 4:45 p.m., coming to rest at an angle with at least one of its wheels stuck in the mud, said Arlene Salac, a Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman.

The plane, identified in broadcast reports as Flight 554 carrying 180 passengers from Atlanta, stopped before it reached Flushing Bay, which abuts the runway.

NBC reporter Linda Vester, who was sitting on a United flight, said she saw emergency vehicles surround the plane as passengers scurried out.

They were quickly put on vehicles and taken away, and then the emergency vehicles began foaming down the plane.

Witness Kenneth Goldstein told MSNBC that he watched the plane approach the runway and saw it tilt slightly, first to the left and then back to the right, and the right wing hit the ground.

Goldstein said the plane then landed and slid on its belly the length of the runway. He said he didn’t see the landing gear blow out.

All entrances to the airport have been sealed off, and incoming planes were diverted.

The mishap came in the midst of wicked storm that brought driving rain and winds up to 60 mph to the area. The storm, which led to the cancellation of the first game of the World Series between the New York Yankees and Atlanta Braves, also caused flooding throughout the city.

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