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Another Southwest Airlines Flight Slides Off Runway at Midway Airport

As reported in the Chicago Tribune a Southwest Airlines flight from Denver to Chicago slid off the end of the runway after landing at Midway Airport on April 26. The runway, which was wet from recent rain, is more than 6,500 feet long, the longest runway in use at Midway. Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating and will try to determine, among other things, where on the runway the aircraft touched down.

The Boeing 737 was carrying 134 passengers and five crew members. Passengers reported being terrified as they could hear and feel the plane sliding. The airplane came to rest in a grassy area only 150 feet away from a wall separating the airport grounds from the surrounding neighborhood and busy streets.

What the Tribune story leaves out is this is not the first time a Southwest flight has run off the end of the runway while attempting to land at Midway. On December 8, 2005 Southwest Airlines Flight 1248, also a Boeing 737, ran off the end of a runway during snowstorm. Unfortunately that airplane crashed through fences and slid beyond the airport grounds onto the adjacent street where it collided with traffic. One person was killed and numerous others suffered physical and emotional harm.

Once the NTSB has completed its investigation we will know more about the causes of this latest incident. In the meantime the flying public should expect the airline and airport authorities to closely examine these incidents and take appropriate action to ensure these mishaps are not repeated.

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