In a terrifying landing, a Southwest flight slid all the way off the end of the runway and into an emergency safety system during heavy rains at the Hollywood Burbank Airport, also known as Bob Hope Airport, on Dec. 6.
According to the FAA, SouthwestAir Flight 278 from Oakland rolled off the end of Runway 8 just after 9:05 a.m. The plane was slowed by collapsible material in the Engineered Material Arresting System (EMAS) at the Burbank, California airport.
Although the plane was cleared to land, it was notified that heavy precipitation was falling right over the airport, reported ABC News. The pilot warned the passengers that the airport’s runway was short, and he was going to have to brake hard.
Twitter user Moe Storch said the runway was clearly wet and the plane appeared to hydroplane after landing. Then the “pilot regained control and hit brakes hit, reverse thrust, just in time … excellent job of the pilot regaining control of the aircraft!!”
In the video, damaged material can be seen under and behind the plane, which was carrying 112 passengers and five crew members on board. Emergency crews responded to the plane, and everyone was evacuated by portable stairs. The passengers were then bussed to the nearest terminal.
No deaths or injuries were reported, and the incident is under investigation. Southwest canceled all their flights from the airport through 3:00 p.m., according to Fox 10.
Instagram user petenicks posted a photo from the tarmac, saying, “We are alive. The plane was a few feet from plowing thru the barrier and taking out numerous cars. Crazy stuff.”
The airport remained open, but one runway was closed and some flights were delayed or canceled.
The National Weather Service reported that the Burbank area received 2.15 inches of rain in a major storm system on Thursday, with light to heavy rain and fog throughout the day.
It’s not confirmed if the incident with the Southwest plane was due to the rain. However, visibility at the airport had been reduced to 1 mile at the time of the incident, reported CNN, and flood advisories were in effect for Los Angeles County.
The EMAS is designed to improve safety in areas where there is not enough land to build a standard 1,000-foot runway extension.
“A standard EMAS installation can stop an aircraft from overrunning the runway at approximately 80 miles per hour,” states the FAA on its website.
The system uses crushable material that’s placed at the end of a runway to protect any areas or people beyond the area. The aircraft’s tires sink into the lightweight substance, causing the plane to decelerate as it rolls through the material.
The material often consists of blocks of crushable cement or a bed of foamed silica covered with a layer of cement.
In 2006, a private jet carrying New York Yankees baseball star Alex Rodriguez and others was stopped by the same system at the Burbank airport, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Hollywood Burbank Airport installed the safety system after another Southwest plane slid off the same runway, crashed through a barrier, and into the street in 2000. A number of people were hurt, including the captain.