BURBANK, CA – A Southwest Airlines flight with 117 people aboard slid off a runway on Thursday at California’s Hollywood Burbank Airport during heavy rain, the Federal Aviation Administration said.
There were no injuries reported, FAA spokesman Ian Gregor said.
Flight 278, a Boeing 737-700 that originated in Oakland, California, came to a stop after running through an area of crushable material designed to bring an airplane to a halt, he said.
The safety system helped to prevent the airliner from crashing through a fence and onto Hollywood Way, a busy six-lane road next to the airport.
The airport is open, and all airlines are operational, the airport tweeted. One runway has been closed. Some flights were canceled or delayed.
There were 112 passengers and five crew members on the flight, Southwest spokeswoman Brandy King said. Southwest tweeted the airline will refund the passengers ticket costs and will make an “additional gesture of goodwill.”
Around the time of the incident, visibility at the airport dropped to 1 mile. The area is experiencing heavy rain — up to a half inch in an hour at one point, and a flood advisory is in effect for Los Angeles County, where the airport is located.
The FAA implemented a ground stop that kept incoming flights in the air for an extra 45 minutes.
Over six hours, the area received 1.66 inches of rain. Its monthly average is 2.4 inches.
The area where the plane stopped — called an engineered materials arresting system — has been in place for years. In October 2006, a small jet carrying baseball star Alex Rodriguez and other people was stopped by the system, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The area is made of lightweight concrete blocks that collapse under the weight of a plane, airport officials said Thursday.
Six years earlier, a 737 went off the same runway, through a barrier, across a busy street (where it hit a car) and almost hit a gas station. Six people were hurt.