Airplane slides off runway at Columbia airport; air traffic control calls plane of passengers "guinea pig"

Posted on 11 January 2019 at 4:25pm

COLUMBIA - A plane slid-off the runway due to icy conditions at the Columbia Regional Airport shortly after 2 PM on Friday. While exiting the main runway, the front gear left the pavement and the aircraft became stuck. Passenger Theresa Cook tells KOMU that there were no injuries. American Airlines flight 5766 was incoming to COU from Dallas.

An air traffic controller called the plane that landed prior to the one that slid down the runway a "guinea pig."

"We're working on the runway, vehicles are clear now. So, you're kind of the guinea pig. You'll be first to report"

After passenger, Mary Sumpter, heard what they said she lost confidence in how they were controlling the planes. 

"Guinea pigs, that's interesting," Sumpter said. 

The runway was so slick, a bus could not reach the plane. Instead, the 80 passengers were evacuated three at a time by first responders.

"I didn't realize how bad it was until we got off the plane and could see that the right side was off of the pavement"

City officials say the Columbia Regional Airport is closed to all inbound and outbound traffic until further notice.

The American Airlines website has most flights listed as canceled.