Former flight attendant: Planes going off runway is not uncommon - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Former flight attendant says planes going off runway is not uncommon

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Marsha Marks Marsha Marks
SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) -

Officials are still trying to figure out what caused a plane from Atlanta to Savannah to run off the taxiway Tuesday night. It happened around 6:30 p.m., and the plane was finally towed away for repairs 10 hours later.

No injuries were reported. All 125 passengers and crew members were okay after an hour delay on the plane. 

Both the Federal Aviation Administration and Delta Airlines say the incident is still under investigation.

Delta 2307, a DC-9 aircraft, landed at runway one at the airport. While taxiing to the gate, the FAA statement reports the aircraft veered off the right side of the intersection of the taxiway and the runway. 

The incident happened at the north end of the runway. The taxiway was a left turn off the runway and leads directly into the terminal area. 

According to passengers, all three landing gear were in the grass and they described the landing as hard and could tell "the landing was too hot and too high." 

For those who have been through the experience before, it may not seem as scary.

"Going off the runway happens about one out of every 100 flights, so maybe several times a day around the world," Marsha Marks, a former flight attendant for a major U.S. airline, told WTOC.

Marks retired and wrote a book about her 25 year experience working for a major airline called "Flying By The Seat of My Pants." She watched the plane drama on WTOC Tuesday night.

Marks says a plane going off the runway or taxiway is like a car hitting a curb, it's embarrassing for the pilot and the crew, and an inconvenience for passengers who get stuck on the plane. 

"It's pretty common and there are a variety of reasons why it happens. The weather, a distracted pilot, a pilot might be new to this airport, a variety of reasons and it is nothing to be alarmed about. Nothing dangerous," Marks said.

Passengers told WTOC, after being released from the plane, that it was more of a chaotic experience.

"Everybody was bracing themselves," one passenger said.

"We weren't that far off the ground and we were going extremely fast," another said.

"Then we abruptly turned left. We were apprehensive about what could happen with the plane," a third passenger told WTOC.

Marks says, from the perspective of a flight attendant trying to keep these people safe, plenty of things go through her mind including should she be telling passengers to brace themselves.

"I've been through it many times and what is going through my head is they got too busy in the cock pit and they got panicked and then a multitude of things happening," she said. "What is also going through my mind is I will be sitting on that grass for at least an hour waiting for a tow truck."

For the inconvenience, Delta Airlines tells WTOC each passenger will receive a travel voucher from their Customer Care department.

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