Delta plane stuck in mud at Jackson-Evers International Airport

Published 7:31 pm Friday, August 11, 2006

A Delta Air Lines passenger jet bound for Atlanta from San Francisco became stuck in the mud Thursday night after refueling at Jackson-Evers International Airport, stranding more than 200 passengers for hours.

The plane was diverted to Jackson because of bad weather in the Atlanta area, an airport official said. After refueling, pilots edged off the runway and became stuck in the mud.

Dirk Vanderleest, airport chief executive officer, said none of the 223 passengers were injured.

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Delta sent a second plane and crew from Atlanta to pick up the stranded passengers, a Delta spokeswoman said. The second plane was due around midnight.

Officials shut down Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport departures and arrivals for about 45 minutes Thursday evening, Delta spokeswoman Gina Laughlin said. The thunderstorms hit the city around 7 p.m. and significantly disrupted traffic at one of the nation’s busiest airports.

“Thunderstorms in Atlanta absolutely have a ripple effect, if you will,” Laughlin said. “Even though the airport closure for departures and arrivals only lasted 30 to 45 minutes, the effect was felt certainly before and after the closure.”

She said passengers forced to miss connecting flights likely would be put in Atlanta area hotels until new connections can be made.

The jet stuck in Mississippi’s capital city won’t be moved until daylight. Vanderleest said thunderstorms Thursday in Jackson accounted for the soft shoulders on the tarmac.

“It’s going to be some time tomorrow because it’s stuck in there pretty good,” Vanderleest said.