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22 hurt after Canada plane drama


An Air Canada jet left the runway after landing at Halifax Airport

An Air Canada jet left the runway after landing at Halifax Airport

An Air Canada jet left the runway after landing at Halifax Airport

Some 22 people have been taken to hospital after an Air Canada plane made an "abrupt" landing and left the runway during bad weather.

The airline said they were taken to hospital for observation and treatment of minor injuries after the incident at Halifax Airport in Nova Scotia.

It said all passengers with Flight AC624 from Toronto left the plane and went to the terminal.

A preliminary count indicated 132 passengers and five crew members were on board, Air Canada said. Flight tracking service FlightAware showed that the plane is an Airbus A320, which has typical seating for 150.

Power at the airport was briefly knocked out, but Nova Scotia Power said it had since restored it.

The Halifax region is under a snowfall warning, with an Environment Canada alert saying "visibility may be suddenly reduced at times in heavy snow".

Another flight tracking site, Flightradar24, listed several cancelled flights at the airport this morning.

Halifax Stanfield International Airport said the airfield remains closed.

Mike Magnus, a businessman who was on the plane, said it was at the "furthest tip of the airport" when it stopped.

He said he heard that the plane may have clipped a power line and that caused the outage at the airport.

"It was so chaotic at the time. I'm pretty sure the landing gear broke on it. The engine on my side popped off," the 60-year-old said.

Mr Magnus believes at least one engine was torn off the Airbus A320. He said the nose of the plane was sheared off and believes the wings were damaged too.

He added that the snow covering the runway was likely to have deadened any sparks that may have caused a fire.

"The snow caused it and the snow saved it," he said.

Mr Magnus was released from hospital after being treated for minor injuries to his shoulder and jaw.

"I'm safe and that's all that matters. I'm going to have a glass of wine," he said.

The airport said on Twitter: "We are thankful no serious injuries have been reported."

Spokesman Peter Spurway said the aircraft touched down in stormy conditions. "It came down pretty hard and then skidded off the runway," he said.

Randy Hall and his wife Lianne Clark were on their way home from a Mexican vacation when he said he believes the jet hit a power line before it landed hard on the runway. There were sparks but no fire, he said.

"We were just coming in to land and there was a big flash," said Mr Hall. "The plane came down, bang! It jumped up in the air again."

The aircraft skidded for a long time before coming to a stop, he said. "We were sliding along on our belly."

Mr Hall said the aircraft hit so hard, the landing gear and at least one of the engines were ripped from the plane.

"I was looking out and I saw the landing gear go and I saw an engine go," he said.

He said passengers left the plane immediately but they were left standing on the tarmac, some without shoes, for more than an hour as they were lashed by wind-whipped snow before buses arrived.

The couple, who were wrapped in blankets as they spoke, said they saw some people with bloody faces but it did not appear that anyone was seriously injured.

The flight crew had told the passengers that conditions at the airport were not good and they would circle for an hour to see if things improved, he said.

"And then there was a window of visibility and we went for it," said passenger Dominic Stettler, 31, a father-of-three.

Once he was off the plane, he ran to get safely away from the aircraft.

"I tripped over a big metal object, which must have been one of the components,"Mr Stettler said. "It was just completely surreal. Parts of the plane were scattered across."

A spokesman for the Transportation Safety Board of Canada said two investigators were scheduled to arrive at the airport.

PA Media