PRESQUE ISLE, Maine (AP) — National Transportation Safety Board investigators arrived in Maine on Tuesday to determine why a United Express regional jet slid off a runway, injuring a pilot and four passengers.
The Presque Isle International Airport reopened Tuesday, but the 50-seat Embraer 145 remained where it came to a rest the day before in deep snow.
The NTSB investigation was just starting, spokesman Terry Williams said.
It was snowing when the pilot aborted an initial landing attempt late Monday morning and requested that the runway lights be turned for a second approach, officials said.
Rick Daigle, one of the passengers, said the plane bounced about four times before coming to a rest in snow so deep that rescuers needed snow removal equipment to reach them.
“The first impact was very hard and violent. There was no warning,” said Daigle, of Fort Kent, who noted that some startled passengers screamed.
Part of the jet’s landing gear ripped away and ended up wedged in the cowling of one of the turbofan engines. The nose cone also was damaged.
The CommutAir-operated flight from Newark, New Jersey, had 28 passengers and three crew members.
The injured were treated and released.