RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – As snow began falling harder Friday night, a passenger jet skidded off a runway at RDU International Airport closing the airfield to inbound flights for more than an hour and closing the main runway for more than 16 hours, officials said.
The incident happened around 9 p.m. and involved Delta Flight 5501 which was headed to RDU from Washington, D.C., RDU officials said in a news release.
The main runway at RDU was not reopened until about 2:45 p.m. Saturday, officials said.
“The flight landed safely and while taxiing off 5L/23R, it rolled into the mud,” a news release from RDU officials.
There were 19 passengers on board the jet, which FlightAware identified as a Canadair Regional Jet CRJ-900, and they were headed to Terminal 2.
There were no reported injuries aboard the jet, which FlightAware also identified as Endeavor Air 5501.
The airfield was closed until about 10:30 p.m. FlightAware earlier reported all RDU inbound flights were being held from taking off until 10:45 p.m.
“We are completing snow removal on the alternate runway 5R/23L and will reopen once snow removal is complete,” the initial news release said.
Around 10:30 p.m., 5R/23L was reopened to air traffic but 5L/23R remained closed, officials later said. Just before midnight Friday, RDU officials said the runway was still closed.
“The aircraft was towed to a remote parking area Saturday afternoon. The runway reopened at approximately 2:40 p.m. after it cleared inspection and airport operations have returned to normal,” RDU officials said in a news release just before 3 p.m.
Nancy Mosser was among those on the jet Friday night.
“They handled it really well until obviously we stopped and we weren’t going anyplace and I looked out the window and there’s grass,” Mosser told CBS 17 reporter Lillian Donahue. “That’s when you realized something was wrong and then you could hear some of the pilots talking and the flight attendants.”
The incident at RDU followed a plow that flipped on a snow-covered road in Moore County.
The Orange County Sheriff’s Office also issued a warning just after 9 p.m. that roads throughout the county were covered in snow and “getting slippery.”
At least three inches of snow fell in central North Carolina late Friday and early Saturday.
Crews began clearing the runway of the plane a little after 11 a.m. Saturday.