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Stroke of luck: No one hurt as gamblers' plane skids

ERIE, Pennsylvania (CNN) -- Gamblers returning from the casinos in Atlantic City, New Jersey, got a last-minute stroke of luck Tuesday night when they escaped injury after their chartered flight skidded off the runway's end, the airport's director of public safety said.

None of the 108 people aboard was injured, said David Bagnoni of Erie International Airport-Tom Ridge Field.

"If they didn't feel they had any luck (in Atlantic City), they had plenty here," he said.

Icy weather is blamed for the accident, which happened about 10:40 p.m. ET, but the incident it still under investigation. Preliminary reports indicate the plane skidded on a patch of ice.

The front half of the plane, owned by Florida-based Spirit Airlines, remained off the runway about 60-90 feet early Wednesday, with the nose gear submerged in about a foot of wet ground. Authorities will try to lift the front end with a crane around noon Wednesday and "shimmy it backwards till it's on the runway," Bagnoni said.

"We're afraid if we back (the plane) up, it'll take the nose end off," he explained.

Once the aircraft is moved, it will be inspected by authorities.

Bagnoni said it is not the first time a plane has skidded off the end of the 6,500-foot runway, citing a 1986 incident in which no one was injured when the plane skidded all the way into a nearby road. He said the airport plans to extend its runway by another 1,000 feet, allowing pilots more room to stop if they encounter icy patches.




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