Sunday, January 3, 2010

Air Berlin Boeing 737-800 overshoots Dortmund runway

A jet veered off the runway at a western German airport, but no one was injured, authorities say.

The pilot of the Air Berlin Boeing 737-800 braked to abort the takeoff from Dortmund airport because of a "technical irregularity", but the plane left the runway in wintry conditions, airline spokeswoman Diane Daedelow said.

It came to rest with its nose pointing down a slight, snow-covered slope.

None of the 165 passengers and six crew members was hurt, and the plane was undamaged, Daedelow said.

Passengers left the aircraft normally using steps, and were taken to nearby Paderborn airport, where another plane flew them to their destination, Las Palmas, in Spain's Canary Islands.

Later in the day, the airline said takeoff was aborted because the pilot and co-pilot were being shown different speeds by their instruments.

Dortmund airport was closed after the incident at 7.05 am (1705 AEDT) on Sunday to allow for the aircraft's recovery.

Other flights were cancelled or diverted. Dortmund fire service official Thomas Osthoff said on n-tv television about 120 officers initially were dispatched to the scene - but "fortunately it turned out that a deployment on this scale wasn't needed".

The plane is the second Boeing 737-800 to leave the runway in recent weeks.

On December 22, an American Airlines flight from Washington left the runway as it landed in Kingston, Jamaica, in heavy rain.

In that case, the fuselage cracked open, the left main landing gear collapsed and the nose was crushed as the plane lurched to a halt at the ocean's edge. There were no deaths, but many passengers needed hospital treatment.

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