Rain Forces Plane Off Midway Runway

No injuries reported after plane goes off runway, gets stuck in the mud

No one was injured Tuesday afternoon after "heavy rain" forced an airplane off the runway at Midway Airport.

Southwest Airlines confirmed that Flight 1919 was in Chicago from Denver when it slid off the runway and got stuck in the mud.  There were 134 passengers and five crew members aboard.

"We came in kind of hard.  In fact, everybody kind of looked at each other when we bounced on the runway and then we didn't seem to be stopping.  We just kept going and going," said Dale Hortik of Colorado.

"We had to have been doing 60, 70 miles an hour when we went into the grass.  And it sunk deep into the grass.  That saved us.  The pilot did a top notch job," added passenger Jud Brown, also of Colorado.

The plane landed on runway 13 Center, Midway's longest runway, at about 1:35 p.m. It slid off the edge near the end of the runway and stopped near 63rd Street and Cicero Avenue, on the southeast side of the airport.

Earlier, the pilot circled in the air three times above Streator, northeast of Peoria, in an attempt to delay landing at Midway because of weather passing over the airport, a track on FlightAware.com showed.

The Chicago Fire Department was notified around 1:40 p.m., according to a Fire Media Affairs spokesman.

Passengers were safely taken off the plane, a Boeing 737-700, using air stairs and were bused to the terminal, according to Southwest Airlines. Southwest officials said they are working with passengers to get them to their final destinations.

In 2005, an airplane slid off Midway's runway while landing in a snowstorm and crashed into traffic.

In recent weeks, airplane safety has been a top concern at airports across the nation as air traffic controllers have been found asleep on the job. In Chicago, an airplane was rerouted through O'Hare Airport because of suspicious activity.

Earlier this month, about 40 Southwest flights in and out of Midway were delayed after a Boeing 737-300 plane from Phoenix to Sacramento lost a six-foot chunk of its fuselage while airborne. 

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