After plane goes off tarmac at Rochester airport, FAA investigating
ROCHESTER, N.Y. — The American Eagle plane that went off the runway at the Frederick Douglass Greater Rochester International Airport on Thursday has been pulled out of service while it’s inspected as part of the investigation into what led it to end up in the grass.
Flight 5811, an E-145 Embraer Regional Jet operated by Piedmont Airlines, was traveling from Philadelphia to Rochester when it went off the taxiway following landing. The main runway where the incident happened was shut down for several hours Thursday evening.
Since then, the runway has re-opened and the airport has been operating as normal. Most flights on Friday were on time, and no one had any trouble taking off or landing in weather conditions that were worse than conditions on Thursday.
“I think the airport team did a fantastic job; we train for this all the time and so the Fire Department was on scene in about two minutes, our airfield operations team was right there with the fire department on scene as quickly as possible,” explains Airport Director Andy Moore.
Thankfully, the 50 passengers and three crew members on board were not hurt — but since the incident was so far away from the terminal, it took about an hour to get stairs to the plane and to coordinate buses to shuttle passengers back to the gate. Once that happened, heavy wreckers were brought in to get the plane up and off the grass and back onto the tarmac. It was then towed to a maintenance area.
As for the cause, “the FAA had an inspector come in last night from the flight standards office; we have not been briefed on any updates” Moore says.
The airport director wants to make one thing clear: “We have decades of experience during the winter time, our supervisors and our airfield crews win national awards for our snow and ice removal almost every single year, so we know what we’re doing when it comes to removing snow and ice off runways and taxiways,” Moore says.