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Plane slides onto verge as Europe weather chaos continues

By Phil Han, CNN
  • Severe weather conditions continue to grip parts of Europe
  • A Ryanair plane slides off runway while taxiing at Prestwick Airport
  • Airlines report flight cancellations and delays across Europe
  • Winter Weather
  • Air Travel
  • Europe

London, England (CNN) -- Frigid temperatures and heavy snow continue to wreak travel chaos across Europe Wednesday as travelers faced treacherous driving conditions and cancelled flights.

Icy conditions are being blamed for a Ryanair jetliner sliding just off the runway at Prestwick Airport near Glasgow, western Scotland.

The Boeing 737 was taxiing after landing when it encountered ice and slid onto a grassy verge, a spokeswoman for Ryanair said in a statement.

She added that passengers disembarked normally and that the aircraft suffered no damage.

Wednesday is the sixth straight day winter weather has caused travel disruptions across many parts of Europe.

Freezing conditions have killed more than 90 people across the continent where the temperature dropped to minus 15 degrees Celsius in some areas.

In Poland, police blamed ice cold temperatures for the deaths of 41 people over the weekend and 10 on Monday night.

"In the month of December we have had 81 people who died from being frozen so far," Karol Jakubowske, spokesperson for the Polish National Police said.

"Most of the people were homeless men or people who went outside after drinking and fell asleep."

Airports in Germany, Italy and the UK are reporting delays and travelers are being advised to check with their airline before heading to the airport.

Many airlines are fighting to deal with a backlog of flights after the week's disruptions.

Yesterday, budget airline Easyjet cancelled more than 150 flights across the continent due to harsh weather conditions.

Thousands of travelers were left stranded in airports around Europe as the airline dealt with severe delays in London, Paris, Rome and Madrid.

Icy conditions are also being blamed for causing a bus to crash off a country road in Cornwall, south-west England, killing two women and injuring more than 40.

The bus encountered sheet ice according to Cornwall police and slid off the road, flipping onto its side.

One woman was pronounced dead at the scene and another woman passenger died at hospital.

Meanwhile, Eurostar reported that services were running smoothly and that the backlog of passengers from the weekend's disruptions had been cleared, a Eurostar spokeswoman said.

Roughly 75,000 Eurostar passengers were left stranded on either side of the English Channel on one of the busiest travel weekends of the year.

Eurostar management blamed the disruptions on severe winter weather which caused condensation to form on the trains, causing electrical failures.