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Plane departs FWA seven hours after sliding into snow bank

Fort Wayne, Ind. (WANE) - A Delta Air Lines plane taxiing at Fort Wayne International Airport slid along the runway Tuesday night. The 51 passengers headed toward Atlanta, Georgia were forced to get off the plane. No one was hurt.

Delta Air Lines flight 3526 was scheduled to take off at 5:31 p.m. Tuesday evening. Instead, wet and icy conditions left the runway too slippery for takeoff. It was closed for about an hour as airport staff worked to treat the runway.

"The aircraft slid where the nosewheel of the aircraft hit the shoulder of the pavement. At that point it couldn't continue forward," Executive Director of Airports for FWA, Scott Hinderman, said during a press conference,

Layne Watson, a spokesperson for SkyWest Airlines, which operates in partnership with Delta Air Lines had a more detailed explanation.

"The aircraft did not actually slide off of the runway," Watson explained. "It came to a stop in a snowbank on the taxiway."

Watson also released this statement on behalf of SkyWest.

"SkyWest flight 3526, operating as Delta Connection from Fort Wayne, Indiana to Atlanta encountered ice on slow taxi for departure and came to a stop in a snow bank on the taxiway. Passengers deplaned through the main cabin door and were safely transported to the terminal via bus. We are working to help our customers resume their travels to Atlanta as quickly as possible."

Hinderman told WANE 15 the chemical used to treat the runway had been diluted because of the rain and made conditions icy. 

Hinderman said staff worked to pull the Delta aircraft to the terminal and treat the runway.

Hinderman was happy with how the response went to the plane sliding.  He says they practice this kind of situation often with emergency crews.

"We had good communication, everything worked out real well all that side of the house was wrapped up in about 20 minutes everybody that needed to know in the world was all communicated to and at that point it was kind of a recovery, get all the people off the aircraft, the aircraft back to the terminal building and the runway back open," he explained.

Passengers tell WANE 15 they were happy with the response from the crews.

"If I was to be involved in any other kind of plane crash, I'd want it to be as nonchalant as that one...Something you don't expect to hear or see...defintely don't want to be part of, but you know, all things considered, I'm alright," said Chad Patterson, a passenger on the plane.

Delta flight 3526 eventually departed around 12:30 a.m. Wednesday, seven hours after it was scheduled to leave. The plane landed in Atlanta at 2:11 a.m.


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