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Cargo plane goes off runway at Halifax Stanfield airport


Four crew members were taken to hospital with minor injuries after a cargo plane went off the end of a runway early Wednesday morning at Halifax Stanfield International Airport.

Airport authority spokeswoman Theresa Rath Spicer said Skylease Cargo's Boeing 747-400 went off the end of Runway 14 as it was landing just after 5 a.m.

“(The crew members) have been removed from the aircraft and are being taken to hospital for treatment of minor injuries,” Rath Spicer said.

All arrivals and departures were either delayed or cancelled after the incident.

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Rath Spicer said airport operations were shut down while the Transportation Safety Board set up a perimeter around the plane.

Air traffic controllers diverted incoming flights until the airfield reopened.

The main runway reopened shortly before 8:30 a.m., but Rath Spicer said the incident “is still significantly impacting our operations. We’ve had diversions and delays. ... it is up to the air carriers; it’s at their discretion as to when they depart or arrive.”

The temporary complete shutdown will have a ripple effect across other flights, too.

“It can take us a while to get caught up,” Rath Spicer said.

Runway 14 is the approach the airport’s secondary runway, which remained closed.

The flight originated in Chicago. Rath Spicer said her understanding was that the aircraft was landing to be loaded with cargo destined for China, but she didn’t have confirmation of that.

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She did not know if there was any damage to the runway.

Halifax Fire district chief Dave Slauenwhite said shortly after 6:30 a.m. that half a dozen units were sent to the airport as a standard response, when they were called, but they were staged and not at the scene.

“We’re in a support role right now,” he said as he was coming on duty for the day. “From what I understand we’re just sitting outside the gate and airport fire is handling the situation.”

He said he hadn’t heard any word of a fuel leak.

“It doesn’t sound like too much, it’s either fixed or it’s winding down,” he said.

Note: This story was updated to correct the runway number and number of crew aboard, which was wrong at source. 

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