‘It Was 10 Seconds of Uncertainty': Mike Pence on LaGuardia Plane Skid

What to Know

  • Republican vice presidential candidate Mike Pence's campaign plane slid off the runway at LaGuardia Airport Thursday evening
  • Officials say it overshot the runway and made a hard landing, tearing up concrete before landing in a patch of grass
  • Crews moved the plane off the runway on Friday morning so that investigators could look at it in a nearby hangar

Republican vice presidential candidate Mike Pence described his harrowing plane skid at LaGuardia Airport as "10 seconds of uncertainty" as the aircraft fishtailed on a wet runway and swerved, splashing mud up onto the windows.

Speaking on the "Today" show Friday, about 12 hours after the aircraft carrying him and 30 others slid off a LaGuardia runway, Pence said he and everyone else aboard the plane were fine despite the scare.

"We're so moved by the outpouring of support and concern," Pence said. He thanked the first responders, who he said seemed to be immediately around the plane after it veered off the runway. The Indiana governor, who was back on the campaign trail Friday, said he flies often and is accustomed to short runways, so doesn't tend to be concerned about bumpy landings.   

The runway was reopened shortly before 7:30 a.m. Friday after crews removed Pence's plane from the landing strip. The aircraft was sent to a hangar at LaGuardia, where it will be looked over by investigators. 

Pence's aircraft skidded off the rainy runway while landing at about 7:40 p.m. on Thursday, tearing up concrete before coming to a rest on a patch of grass. 

The governor said Friday the plane was coming in under a low ceiling, and once it landed, "you could tell they were trying to brake the aircraft pretty quickly."

U.S. Secret Service agents immediately rushed from the back of the plane to the front, where Pence was seated, to check on the candidate. He said he was fine and no one had been injured.

"We can see mud on the front windows," a calm Pence said in the press cabin about a minute after the plane came to a rest.

Later, the Indiana governor tweeted: "So thankful everyone on our plane is safe. Grateful for our first responders & the concern & prayers of so many. Back on the trail tomorrow!"

In Geneva, Ohio, GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump told his supporters that Pence had come "pretty close to grave, grave danger." But, he added: "I just spoke to Mike Pence and he's fine. Everybody's fine."

Democrat Hillary Clinton tweeted: "Glad to hear @mike_pence, his staff, Secret Service, and the crew are all safe."

The plane was coming to New York from Fort Dodge, Iowa, where it had made a hard landing but stayed on the runway earlier Thursday afternoon. After a rally in Fort Dodge, Pence's flight to New York was delayed because of weather. The Indiana governor spent about 20 minutes tossing a football with his staff, reporters and Secret Service agents near the Iowa runway.

Upon arriving at LaGuardia, after a bumpy approach, the Boeing 737 Eastern Airlines charter landed roughly, making first contact with the runway concrete. The pilot slammed on the brakes and the plane began to slide sideways. When it stopped, passengers could smell burning rubber.

The Federal Aviation Administration said, "A crushable concrete runway safety technology called an Engineered Material Arresting System stopped the plane." The FAA website says the material is "designed to safely stop airplanes that overshoot runways."

The 37 passengers, including Pence, and 11 crew members were removed through the back of the plane.

The Port Authority confirmed in a statement the plane had "overshot" the runway, there were no injuries and there was no fire.

Port Authority Executive Director Patrick Foye said the National Transportation Safety Board "will take control of the investigation." 

Pence spokesman Marc Lotter said Pence spoke with Trump shortly after the landing. The vice presidential candidate also called into the $1 million fundraiser at Trump Tower that he had been expected to attend, Lotter said. The campaign said it was preparing a new, similar aircraft that would be ready soon.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
Contact Us