American Flight Skids Off Runway At Jackson Hole

December 30, 2010

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An American Airlines jet arriving from Chicago skidded off the runway and into a snow bank in Jackson Hole, Wyoming late on Wednesday morning, airport officials said.

None of the 181 people on board were injured and the plane was not damaged but the accident caused the Jackson Hole airport to close for two hours, airport director Ray Bishop said.

The plane went nose-first into the snow bank.

Bishop said weather could not account for the accident, which happened near noon. He said there was light snow falling at the time and visibility was 1.5 miles.

"We had good braking and the runway was in reasonable shape -- not great, but good," he said.

Airport officials used bulldozers and snowplows to dig out the plane and temporarily diverted incoming jets -- including a United Airlines flight from Chicago and American Airlines flights from Dallas, Denver and Salt Lake City -- to nearby airports in Idaho and Montana.

Bishop said passengers and crew seemed in good, even festive, spirits despite the mishap, with some transmitting details and images of the accident over their cell phones.