Crews Get Delta Connection Jet Back On The Runway At Tulsa International Airport


Thursday, August 18th 2011, 8:15 am
By: News On 6


Russell Hulstine, NewsOn6.com & Dave Davis, News On 6

TULSA, Oklahoma -- A Delta Connection jet scheduled to fly from Tulsa to Atlanta Thursday morning got stuck in the grass just off a taxiway at Tulsa International Airport

Delta Connection flight #5038 was scheduled to leave Tulsa at 6:00 a.m. for Atlanta. 

"All of the sudden it just kind of felt like, I mean, it felt like we bumped into something, you know," Poul Lemasters, a passenger from Ohio, said.

Tulsa International Airport spokesperson Alexis Higgins says the plane was exiting the runway onto a taxiway when the nose gear got into the grass. 

"We did have an airplane that made a u-turn on a taxiway and he just didn't quite make it and the front nose gear went off the concrete surface onto the grass," Higgins said.

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TIA crews had to first remove 43 passengers and four
crew members aboard the flight and all the baggage before they can begin to free the jet.  

For the passengers News On 6 talked to, the frustration came from the lack of communication.

And we sat there for 30, 45 minutes, finally he came on and said there were going to be busses. We got on busses, sat there for a while. Nobody from Delta said anything. Nobody from the airport authority. They just dropped us off back here at the terminal and here we are," David Skinner said.

And after they were dropped off at the terminal, most of their faces didn't show frustration.

"There's a lot of us that are traveling for business and are on pretty tight schedules. And so for us, we have a pretty short window in Atlanta for our connecting flight to Birmingham and obviously we're not going to make it," Skinner said.

"You know, like somebody said on the plane. I heard a lady say it, and she was like you know, everything happens for a reason, so you know, you just take it in stride," Lemasters said.

Shortly before 11 a.m., airport and airline crews got the jet's nose gear back on the tarmac.

The Delta Connection flight is operated by Atlanta Southeast.  Company spokesperson Jarek Beem issued the following statement:  

"The nose gear of the aircraft left the paved surface of the taxiway and rolled into the grass while complying with air traffic control's request for the aircraft to turn around on the taxiway. There were no injuries reported, and passengers are being re-accommodated by customer service agents in Tulsa."

After the incident, the Delta ticket counter was busy as customer service agents assisted stranded passengers and passengers for later flights.