United Airlines plane gets stuck on runway at Bush IAH

By Ryan Korsgard - Reporter, Nakia Cooper - Senior Web Editor

HOUSTON - United Airlines Flight 1545 had trouble on a runway after landing at Bush Intercontinental Airport Monday morning, officials confirmed.

The incident occurred around 5:30 Monday morning, a spokesman from the Houston Fire Department said.

Airport officials say the Boeing 737 traveling from Las Vegas to Houston had landed safely at the airport and was making a wide turn on the runway when its tires got stuck in the grass.

Six crew members and 167 passengers were on board. No one was injured.

"Everybody OK down there?" asked air traffic control shortly after the plane stopped in the mud. The pilot responded, "We don't seem to have any injuries reported at this point in time."

The pilot told air traffic control that he could not get traction as he landed.

He said, "We believe that on the high speed taxiway that we had very little braking authority. I would call it poor at best, and I can't say more than that right now. But there was really no ability to stay centered on the taxiway during the exit."

Passengers deplaned using stairs after the aircraft rolled into the grass.

One passenger told KPRC that she was asleep and awoke to what felt like a rough landing. She said she looked out her window only to see Flight 1545 nearly tilted in the grass.

"The nose went down really hard and then we bounced and we slid," said passenger Donna Mason. "They may have hit standing water on the runway. But it was a hard landing to begin with, so it was a hard landing being slightly out of control and then elevating you when you bounced."

Mason once flew as a flight attendant for Pan Am.

"I've experienced hard landings before. Where you hit and you bounce and you just kinda go on your way but I've never been in an airplane that's gone off of the tarmac," Mason said. "Once we stopped, there was that moment of stunned silence where no one is saying anything. And then the chatter slowly starts and the pilot said there will be a delay, we've gone into the ground."

Mason said all of the landing gear was in the mud.

"We joke in this household that takeoffs are mandatory and landings are optional. You have to realize that what goes up must come down and hope they come down in a controlled fashion. It wasn't as controlled as you'd like it to be," she said.

Everyone was ferried by bus to a terminal.

Crews continued to work on the airplane through the afternoon Monday. The jet sat unmoved some five hours after it got stuck.

Passengers were still waiting on their luggage, which was locked inside the plane.

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