Airport closed after plane skidded in Poland

AP News
Posted: Mar 13, 2013 9:28 AM

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Teams of experts were working to free a Boeing 737 airplane from a muddy field after it skidded off the runway while landing in Katowice, southern Poland, an airport spokesman said Wednesday.

The plane from the Czech airline Travel Service skidded late Tuesday and went some 20 meters (22 yards) off the Pyrzowice airport runway and ran into wet ground, where its front landing gear sank. None of the 176 passengers and six crew members was hurt. They had arrived from the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh in Egypt.

Airport spokesman Cezary Orzech said that the airport remained closed while Czech experts were working with Polish airport staff to pull the plane out. In low temperatures and under falling snow they placed and inflated airbags under the fuselage to lift the plane.

All flights have been redirected to nearby Krakow.

Orzech said that the pilot had been informed that the runway was slippery but decided to land anyway. Travel Service pilots are familiar with the airport, which serves as base for the airline's aircraft, he said.