Southwest Airlines Plane Skids Off Snow-Covered Runway in Washington

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A Southwest Airlines plane with 118 passengers on board skidded off a snow-covered taxiway Sunday afternoon after safely landing at Spokane International Airport, the airline said.

No one was injured, but flights didn't resume for more than three hours.

The pilot of Southwest Flight 485, bound from Portland, Ore., was slowly taxiing to the gate when the front wheels of the plane slid off the taxiway around 1:40 p.m., said Brandy King, a spokeswoman for the Dallas-based carrier.

Heavy snow had been falling on Spokane and the surrounding region since Saturday afternoon. There was up to a half-inch of wet, heavy snow on the ground, but "we don't have any ice on the runway; we were pretty vigilant about that," Airport spokesman Todd Woodard told The Spokesman-Review newspaper.

The airport shut down operations until crews could move the Boeing 737, which was obstructing a taxiway, King said. The plane was moved at about 4:30 p.m., and flights resumed shortly after 5 p.m., the airport said.

Southwest used buses to shuttle the plane's passengers and five crew members to the terminal.

The aircraft will be removed from service for routine inspection to make sure it wasn't damaged and that mechanical failure did not play a role in the incident, King said. Several airport lights were damaged in the incident, Woodard said.

An initial inspection of the plane didn't reveal any immediate damage, but Southwest suspended its operations in Spokane for the rest of the night, King said.

The plane originated in Albuquerque, N.M., then flew to San Diego, Sacramento, Calif., and Portland, before heading to Spokane, King said.