Last Thursday on December 17th, 2020, a Spirit Airlines flight from Las Vegas to Baltimore skid off the runway due to icy weather conditions. The flight, NK696, was operating a daily service between Las Vegas, Nevada to Baltimore, Maryland with an Airbus A320.The incident occurred just hours after the region was hit by a snowstorm that brought freezing and icy conditions to Baltimore.
Spirit Airlines flight NK696 departed at 11:21PM PST from Las Vegas, and early in the morning at 6:15AM, the flight landed in Baltimore, Maryland in freezing temperatures. Some areas of Baltimore had reported as much as 4 inches of snow that day, and the airport was covered with snow and ice. The runways and taxiways were also slippery. After a successful landing, the Airbus A320 started to taxi, but then slipped off the runway. The aircraft stopped in the grass and its front landing gear lodged into the dirt.
Minutes later, the Baltimore Marshall Airport Fire and Rescue Department arrived at the scene and deplaned the people on board using airstairs. No emergency slides or other equipment were deployed in the accident. Fortunately, all 111 passengers in the incident were safe and no one was injured. The passengers were disembarked from the rear exit and then transported to the terminal via a shuttle bus. The last passengers and luggage were taken to the terminal at 8:35AM. The entire incident lasted over two hours after the plane landed.
After the crew members and passengers were safely transported to the terminal, ground crew at the airport worked diligently in the cold to pull the Spirit A320 Neo, registered N934NK, out of the grass. The aircraft’s nose gear was, however, positioned in a difficult way to pull out of the dirt, as described by the rescue vehicles. The plane was eventually successfully removed from the grass and moved to a repair center after the incident.
Following this incident, Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, the airport where the incident took place, is currently working to maintain safe and dry surfaces at the airfield to ensure the safety of all its travelers and guests. On a good note, the aircraft involved in the incident was re-entered into service the next day, and it flew back to Las Vegas where it is now serving more flights on a daily basis. Overall, this event was only a minor incident and it is fortunate that no one was injured.
Cover Image is credited to ABC News