NTSB blames pilot error for plane that skidded off snowy LaGuardia runway

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NJ Burkett has the details. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

NTSB investigators are blaming pilot error for a Delta Airlines jet skidding off the runway during a snowstorm at LaGuardia Airport in 2015.

At a hearing Tuesday, investigators said the captain used too much engine power while trying to stop, which can cause a loss of steering on a slick runway.

The plane's left wing struck a perimeter fence. Authorities also questioning the captain's decision to wait six minutes after the crash to order an evacuation.

None of the 127 passengers and five crew members was seriously injured in the incident, which happened on March 5 and left Delta Flight 1086 dangerously close to ending up in Flushing Bay.

Many said the jet went out of control almost as soon as it touched down, finally skidding to a stop midway down the runway after crashing through the fence.

The runway had been plowed minutes before the incident, and two other pilots had reported good braking conditions.

Passengers were told to exit over the broken right wing because the door out the back was too close to the water. They climbed off the plane dressed in their heavy winter coats and scarves and tromped through several inches of snow. The plane did not make contact with the water.

"As we walked across the runway, it was covered with so much snow that I was wondering: Who decided it was safe to land here?" said passenger Jane Kaufman, of Gainesville, Florida.

New York Giant tight end Larry Donnell was aboard, he reported on his Instagram page.

When Donnell got off the plane, he posted a picture he took of the scene, captioning it, "Look at this s**t! Knew I shoulda stayed my a** at home."

He later released a statement saying, "I'm blessed to be safe and sound after our plane skidded off the runway at LaGuardia airport today. I feel fine physically and hopefully all the other passengers did not have any significant injuries. We were all shocked and alarmed when the plane started to skid, but most importantly, as far as I know ,all of the passengers and flight crew were able to exit the plane safely."

Delta released the following statement:

"Delta Air Lines' top priority is always the safety of our customers and employees. We cooperated with the National Transportation Safety Board during the course of the investigation and we respect their findings, conclusions and recommendations. Delta leaders will use this NTSB guidance to further enhance the safety of our global operation."

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plane crashlaguardia airportNew York CityJamaica (QN12)
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