CHICAGO – A Southwest Airlines flight from Baltimore to Chicago slid off a runway at Midway International Airport and onto a nearby street as it attempted to land amid heavy snow and wind, authorities said Thursday.
Two passengers on the Boeing 737 suffered minor injuries, and as many as seven people on the ground were hurt, Aviation Department spokeswoman Wendy Abrams said. Ninety-eight passengers were on board and have since been evacuated.
Nearby Holy Cross Hospital took in four patients into its emergency room, hospital officials told FOX News.
At least two vehicles were damaged, and one was pinned under the wing, Chicago Fire Department spokesmen said. There were no known injuries in the second vehicle.
The accident happened about 7:15 p.m. when Southwest Flight 1248 inbound from Baltimore slid off the runway, skidded through the airport's boundary fence and crashed into a lamp post on 55th Street and Central Avenue, approximately 100 feet south of the airport, Fire Department Officials told FOX News.
The plane came to a stop on Central Avenue, according to the Federal Aviation Administration's regional office in Chicago. The flight was scheduled to continue on to Las Vegas.
The airplane's nose was crushed, a wing was damaged, the engine severly damaged, and a front window was out, Chicago Fire Department officials told FOX.
The National Transportation Safety Board will lead the investigation, the FAA said.
"It got really bumpy, and then a big crashing sound," passenger Katie Duda told WMAQ-TV. The next thing she knew, the airplane was past the airport and on the street, Duda said.
Passengers used inflatable slides to exit the plane, she said.
"Everyone was very calm. Everyone around me seemed very OK. ... There was no chaos," Duda said.
Midway reported 7 inches of snow Thursday, but Abrams said runway conditions at the time were acceptable.
The airport is closely bordered by streets lined with homes and businesses on Chicago's southwest side. It the smallest of the Chicago area's major airports and serves more than 17 million travelers a year.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.