Terrified passengers were evacuated from a plane this afternoon after it overshot an airport runway and skidded onto grass as it came in to land.
Holidaymakers experienced the hair-raising landing when the Monarch flight arrived at Birmingham Airport from Nice this afternoon.
The Boeing 737 carrying more than 100 tourists span off the runway – leaving the nose wheel and main undercarriage buried in mud.
Emergency crews raced to the scene to rescue the stricken passengers and all flights at the airport were suspended yesterday afternoon.
It’s the second time the plane has been involved in a major incident in the space of a month after the 25 year-old aircraft broke down in Tenerife in August.
An engine fault meant 140 passengers were unable to leave the Spanish island for two days and were instead put up in a hotel while spare parts for the plane were sought.
Passenger Michelle Doyle, who was on the plane at the time of the latest drama yesterday said the aircraft did ‘a rally slide’.
She wrote on her Twitter page: “Just “landed” in Birmingham. Plane did a rally slide into the grass after landing. Thanks Monarch!!”
Alex Hall, a student at Warwick Business School, who was at the airport tweeted: “On way to job interview, plane has come off runway at Birmingham Airport!”
A spokesperson for Birmingham Airport, confirmed there had been no injuries on the plane, which is operated by Lithuanian company Air Aurela.
Spokesman David Lavender, said: “An incident involving Monarch flight ZB467 arriving from Nice and operated by AURELA Airlines occurred at 13.11 this afternoon. At the present time, airfield services are assisting the airline crew.
“We can confirm that there were no injuries and no one was hurt.
“The passengers left the aircraft using the steps and are currently being transferred to the terminal where they will be looked after whilst the bags are removed from the aircraft hold.
“Flights are currently suspended and more information will be provided as soon as it becomes available.”
An aviation source at the airport, said: “It would have been pretty terrifying for the passengers on board, one minute you are experiencing a normal landing, the next your skidding all over the place and the speed would have been reduced pretty quickly.
“It is lucky nobody got hurt – if the plane was coming in at speed, it’s a dangerous way to come into land.
“A wet runway could have been a factor but shouldn’t have been if everything was working probably.
“He could have just simply have been going too fast and misjudged the landing.
“If one reverse thrust engine was on more than the other, that can also cause imbalance. Also a tyre could have simply burst.”
A West Midlands Ambulance Service spokesman said: “Crews arrived on scene following reports of an incident involving an incoming aircraft at Birmingham Airport.
“It is understood that all passengers safely disembarked from the aircraft. Ambulance crews stood-by in the terminal area of the airport in the event of any passengers requiring medical assessment and treatment.
“WMAS can confirm that no passengers were treated at the scene or taken to hospital as a result of this incident.”
Passengers said there had been a problem with the plane before take-off. They reported the plane ‘juddering’ as it turned right before going up.
They said that the plane had been making the same manoeuvre just after landing when it skidded off the runway. The aircraft then suddenly ’tilted’ before coming to a stop on grass.
Tim Witcherley, from Warwickshire, who had been onboard the flight, said there had first been a problem with the aircraft when it took off in Nice.
He said: “When we were being taxied on the runway, the plane turned and there was a juddering noise, as if the brakes had locked up, like you get on a car.
“Then it took off and we had an uneventful journey until we got back to Birmingham.
“Again, it was when we turned right that the same juddering started, the plane tilted and we ended up on the grass.
“There was no shouting, no panicking – people were just laughing. It was all very British.”
Another passenger, Ian Smith, said it was the “oldest plane” he had “ever flown on”.
He said: “We landed on the runway fine but then something went wrong with taxiing.
“It [might have been] going too fast… and we slid on to the grass.
“We couldn’t really see a lot, we weren’t actually too far from the perimeter fence and trees.
“It’s only after that you think it could’ve been a lot worse.
“We’re all fine and disembarked normally.”
The incident led to a two-hour closure of the airport while the plane involved was moved from the runway.
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