Plane veers off taxiway at MacArthur Airport

December 27, 2012 9:06:35 PM PST
An airplane veered off the taxiway at MacArthur Airport in Ronkonkoma and into the grass Thursday morning, forcing passengers to evacuate onto the runway.

The Southwest Airlines 737 apparently made a wrong turn off the taxiway and ended up in the grassy area just before 7 a.m.

No injuries were reported.

Southwest Flight 4695 was scheduled to depart MacArthur Airport at 6:15 a.m. and arrive in Tampa at 8:51 a.m.

"Tower, 4695, We just made your day very interesting, at least ours is going to be," the pilot told air traffic controllers, according to transmissions released by "We just taxied right off the taxiway and into the grass here. Right off Sierra and before Alpha. And we are gonna have to deplane the people and get something out here to tow the aircraft back on the pavement."

It appears the plane took a misturn in the rain, left the taxiway and came to a stop in the mud. The plane appeared to be tilting to the side.

There were 134 people on the plane. None were injured. They were evacuated from the plane onto the tarmac and bused back to the terminal.

The airport was not closed.

Southwest Airlines tells Eyewitness News that maintenance crews are working to remove the plane from the tarmac so it can be evaluated for any damage.

The company did not say if it was pilot error that caused the mishap or released any other information regarding the reason.

Passengers say while they're curious how this all happened, they're taking it in stride.

"The passengers were calm," passenger Lea Schleimer said. "We all just stayed in our seats and waited for what the stewardess was going to say." Crews pulled the plane out at approximately 11 p.m. on Thursday night. It took about an hour for portable stairs to be over so passengers could get off.


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