NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The National Transportation Safety Board is trying to figure out what caused a Delta jet to skid off the runaway and crash through a fence at LaGuardia Airport.

The plane was removed and taken to a hanger Friday after crews spent much of the night using massive cranes to lift the 140,000-pound MD-88 aircraft, the Port Authority said.

As part of its investigation, the NTSB will be scrutinizing the plane’s data and voice recorders to figure out why the pilot lost control.

(Credit: NTSB)

(Credit: NTSB)

(Credit: NTSB)

(Credit: NTSB)

The affected runway was reopened around 10:30 a.m. Friday, the Port Authority said. The airport’s other runway reopened  Thursday about three hours after the incident, which was still impacting travelers on Friday.

The Alvarez family was among many stuck at their terminals for hours, some sleeping there overnight.

“They’re not even sure,” Delta passenger Stuart Alvarez told CBS2’s Janelle Burrell. “They’re saying maybe not today, maybe tomorrow.”

The accident happened just after 11 a.m. Thursday on Runway 13 as Delta Flight 1086 was coming in from Atlanta.

Passengers said it landed hard and about three-quarters of the way down the runway, the plane veered left and hit a berm. The nose of the plane then crashed through a fence, stopping just short of Flushing Bay.

“The wheels did not grab, they didn’t take and immediately we heard the spinning,” said passenger Jared Faelacci. “We felt like we skidded for 20 seconds. I grabbed the seat in front of me, started to pray.”

“It felt like a regular landing until it started sliding,” added passenger Naquithan Taylor. “I realized that it wasn’t going well when we hit a stop, and then I seen water kind of coming up and gasoline running from the wing.”

The plane’s emergency chutes did not deploy. Cellphone video shows passengers sliding down the damaged right wing into the safety of emergency crews waiting on the snow-covered tarmac.

It’s still unclear what exactly caused the plane to skid off the runway.

At the time of the accident, it was snowing with about 3.5 inches already on the ground at LaGuardia, CBS2’s Lonnie Quinn reported. Visibility was low – at about a quarter mile – and the cloud ceiling was at about 1,100 feet.

The Federal Aviation Administration said they cleared the flight to land based on information from the Port Authority, which maintains the runway.

Patrick Foye, executive director of the Port Authority, said the runway had been plowed shortly before the plane arrived at the airport and that two other pilots had reported good braking conditions.

“I think the pilot did everything he could to slow the aircraft down,” he said.

There were 127 passengers and five crew members on the plane and all were taken off safely, authorities said. The FDNY said 24 passengers had bumps and bruises from the rough landing. A few of them were taken to the hospital.

There have been similar accidents at LaGuardia before, including one with deadly consequences.

In 1992, a U.S. Air jet crashed into Flushing Bay as it tried to take off in a snowstorm. Fifty-one people were on that plane and 27 died. Investigators blamed ice which formed on the wings of the plane.

Just four years later in 1996, a Delta jet almost went into the water when it skidded upon landing during a rainstorm. There were 63 people on that plane, including CBS sportscaster Greg Gumbel.

Everyone was evacuated safely.


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