FAA investigating after plane slides off runway at Austin Straubel

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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - A Boeing 737 slid off the runway while landing at Austin Straubel International Airport Friday morning.

The plane was carrying 180 passengers and seven crew members. There were no reports of injuries.

The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating.

The United Flight 878 was flying from Houston to Minneapolis-St. Paul when it was diverted to Green Bay due to bad weather.

The plane was landing at Austin Straubel International Airport when it slid off the runway by 250 feet at 3 a.m.

"We started off in Houston and tried to land in Minneapolis. Got to Minneapolis and the runways were too icy so they diverted us to Madison. We refueled. Went back to Minnapolis to try again. We went there again. Still couldn't get in. Then we landed and slid off the runway here," said passenger Scott Hilgemann.

The passengers were moved off the plane and were taken to a terminal.

Tom Miller, Director of Green Bay Austin Straubel International Airport, said passengers and crew got off the plane by using a portable set of stairs.

"We have public safety here 24/7 that keeps an eye on the airfield conditions. We had crews here who were treating the runways at the time," Miller says.

Passenger Carly Zierden from Duluth said officials told her they could choose to take a bus to Minneapolis-St. Paul or take a flight later in the day.

Zierden described the landing as "jerky."

"You could kind of tell the difference between the runway and the ground. We were making-- we were slowing down, but then you could feel kind of the brakes not have any more traction and we continued off the runway into the field. It was a pretty scary experience, I'd say but, they turned the lights on and just made sure everyone was OK after," said Zierden.

Miller says only certain substances are allowed on runways for the treatment of ice.

"We can't use salt on runways because it's corrosive. We use mostly sand for it to provide grit. There are some other chemicals we can use that are approved by the Federal Aviation Administration," Miller says.

Here is the full statement from Tom Miller:

"At approximately 3:00 a.m. today, a United Airlines Boeing 737-900 was landing at Green Bay Austin Straubel International Airport (GRB) and ran off the end of the runway by about 250 feet. The plane was carrying 180 passengers and seven crew members. There were no injuries and everyone safely exited the aircraft using a portable set of stairs. They were then transported to the terminal building by bus and alternate transportation is being arranged for the passengers.

Flight 878 originated in Houston, Texas and was headed for Minneapolis, Minnesota. It was apparently diverted to GRB because of bad weather. The situation has been reported to the FAA, which is investigating."

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