VIDEO: 737 slips off runway at German airport

BERLIN — A jet headed for Spain’s Canary Islands came off the runway at Dortmund airport in western Germany today, but no one was injured, authorities said.

The pilot of the Air Berlin Boeing 737-800, with 165 passengers and six crew members on board, had decided to abort the takeoff because of a “technical irregularity” that is still being examined, airline spokeswoman Diane Daedelow said.

The aircraft braked but came off the runway in wintry conditions. It came to rest with its nose pointing down a slight snow-covered slope.

The plane was undamaged and passengers were able to leave the aircraft normally using steps, Daedelow said.

The passengers and their luggage were being taken to nearby Paderborn airport, from where another aircraft was to fly them to Las Palmas, she added.

Dortmund airport said the accident happened at 7:05 a.m. (0605GMT). The airport was closed to allow for the aircraft’s recovery, and other flights were canceled or diverted, according to its Web site.

Dortmund fire service official Thomas Osthoff said on n-tv television that some 120 officers were dispatched to the site after authorities were first alerted to the incident — but “fortunately it turned out that a deployment on this scale wasn’t needed.”

Passengers were able to disembark in a “very orderly” way and were taken by bus to the airport terminal, he added.

The plane is the second Boeing 737-800 to skid off the runway in recent weeks. On Dec. 22, an American Airlines flight from Washington left the runway as it landed in Kingston, Jamaica, in heavy rain. The fuselage cracked open, the left main landing gear collapsed and the nose was crushed as the plane lurched to a halt at the ocean’s edge. There were no deaths, but many of the passengers needed hospital treatment.

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