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Flights landing in Keflavík this morning have experienced significant delays after a plane from the Icelandic airline Primera Air skidded off the runway late afternoon yesterday. The Icelandic National Broadcasting Service RÚV reports that incoming flights are experiencing delays up to two hours. Departing flights have not experienced any delays.
At 17:20 yesterday a plane carrying 137 Icelandic passengers and a crew of 6 returning from resorts in Alicante in Spain skidded off the runway while landing, causing the airport authorities to close the North/South runway. The East/West runway was closed due to maintenance and repairs to the tarmac.
Passengers were preparing for impact
A spokesman for the Icelandic Transportation Accident Board told RÚV that the cause of the accident is not known, but that weather conditions at the airport could have been a factor. Heavy snow and ice or slick spots on the runway could have played a role.
Passengers on the plane told the local news site Vísir that the plane had made one attempt to land, but had then abandoned the attempt, circling the airport once before making a second attempt at landing. After the plane landed, however, the passengers say it felt as if it didn't brake and wasn't slowing down properly.
One passenger said that the the plane was clearly not slowing down sufficiently. He and his travel partner had begun preparing for impact.
Fortunately nobody was injured in the accident, and the plane was not damaged significantly.
Second runway opened temporarily
By 20:00 airport staff had managed to ferry all passengers from the plane as well as re-opening the second runway. The East/West runway, which had been closed due to maintenance, was plowed and de-iced, allowing the airport to be re-opened.
By 22:30 yesterday evening the Primera Air plane had been towed off the runway, allowing for the re-opening of the North/South runway.
Planes which were scheduled to land shortly after the accident were diverted to other airports. One returned to Poland, two landed in Scotland and one landed at Reykjavík airport.
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