Southwest flight veers off taxiway at MacArthur Airport
RONKONKOMA - Police say a Tampa-bound Southwest flight veered off of a taxiway at MacArthur Airport this morning and got itself stuck in a muddy patch of grass.
Southwest flight 4695 was a few hundred feet from the MacArthur terminal when it suddenly missed a turn on the taxiway. Its nose wheel got stuck in the mud near two taxiways, named Alpha and Sierra.
Passenger Mike Savino Jr., of Wading River, says the plane was riding along when there was a sudden jolt, as if the pilot had slammed on a brake. He looked out his window and saw grass below.
The Boeing 737 had 136 passengers and seven crew members aboard. No one was injured, but it was about an hour before a portable stairway was positioned by the plane to evacuate everyone.
The cause of the mishap is still unclear. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) are interviewing crew members and passengers. Investigators say it could be months before a conclusive cause is identified.
Southwest Airlines says it gave the affected passengers vouchers worth $200 to be used on future flights. Most passengers left on another Tampa-bound flight not long after the incident.