CLEVELAND– Some anxious moments at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport Friday morning, as a jet with 103 passengers and a crew of five on board, slid off an icy taxiway.
Passengers say United Airlines Flight 1639 from Fort Lauderdale to Cleveland had just made a turbulent landing at Hopkins, and they knew there was going to be trouble, when the 737 hit the taxi area.
Passenger Dan Flynn told FOX 8, “When we started hitting the brakes, we weren’t slowing down too much, and felt like we were trying to make a turn and just kept on going straight.”
Passenger Air Kilgore said “I think we’re going off the runway, and I opened my eyes and I hold his arm, and I say ‘oh, okay.”
According to passenger Jonathan Howard, “Got a little bit more bumpy, and then we just kind of continued on with that, and then the next thing you know, we’re stopped.”
Passenger Jeff Combs told FOX 8, “I said ‘well this is going to be interesting, we’re going kind of into the grass, and we’ll be here for a while’.”
Passengers say the ice on the taxiway made it impossible for the pilot to keep the plane from going off into the grass, but they could tell he was doing everything he could to prevent it from happening.
Dan Flynn said, “It felt exactly like being in a car, that you’re hitting the brakes and nothing is happening, and you’re trying to turn, it’s not working.”
Air Kilgore added, “It was like okay. It’s okay. We stopped here and I hope nobody hits us in the back.”
After being evacuated from the plane, the passengers were taken to the terminal at Hopkins, where they reflected on their spin-out in a 737, and the fact that no one was hurt.
“That’s obviously the most important thing, everything else can be replaced or fixed,” said Flynn.
Kilgore added, “You know I have to say, we had a very calm group of people, nobody yelling, nobody screaming.”
The jet was towed from the taxi area later this afternoon, and then moved to a United hangar as authorities continue their investigation of the incident.