Air Canada plane ‘exits’ Halifax runway leaving 23 injured

MONTREAL, Canada (AFP)- At least 23 people were hurt and petrified passengers described how they feared for their lives when an Air Canada plane careened off a runway in heavy snow at Halifax airport on Sunday.

All but one of the injured were later released from hospital but the incident caps a traumatic week for the airline industry, coming five days after a pilot killed himself and 149 others when he slammed his Germanwings plane into the French Alps, obliterating the aircraft.

Like the doomed Germanwings flight, the Air Canada plane was an Airbus A320.

Flight AC624 from Toronto “exited runway upon landing at Halifax,” the airline said on Twitter, and pictures showed the nose of the plane sliced off, its landing gear collapsed and at least one engine badly mangled.

Passengers said the plane had circled over the airport before coming in to land and had “bounced” upon impact, shortly after midnight.

Investigators were probing what caused the incident, but heavy snow was falling in the eastern Canadian city and Environment Canada had issued a snowfall alert, warning of low visibility.

Five crew and 133 passengers were on board the plane, according to Air Canada.

Passengers described scenes of panic.

Halifax airport spokesman Peter Spurway said passengers had appeared shaken as they left the plane, describing the incident as “scary.”

Power was out at the airport at the time of the incident, but Spurway did not say whether there was any link to the accident.

“We did lose power, we’re not sure if the two incidents are connected. They may be but we’re not sure,” he told AFP.

Back-up generators were running when the flight landed and the runways were lit, he added.

Spurway could not confirm reports that the plane’s wings became tangled in electricity wires upon landing, saying only the Transportation Safety Board of Canada was on site to investigate.

Both runways were closed overnight but the airport was slowly returning to normality on Sunday morning.

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