Plane lands at wrong W.Va. airport; no one injured
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- A Silver Airways pilot making one of the Florida airline's first flights to the North Central West Virginia Airport in Bridgeport mistakenly landed his Saab 340 at a tiny airport in Fairmont, but officials said Wednesday that no one was injured.
"Obviously, it was a mistake," said Jake Wilburn, manager of the Fairmont Municipal Airport-Frankman Field. The No. 5 runway at Fairmont is just under 3,200 feet long and 75 feet wide -- too small for the passenger plane.
The landing occurred late Tuesday night during Silver's first week of service to the Bridgeport airport.
"It was a normal landing, if you can say landing a Saab 340 here is normal," Wilburn said. "He got it in, no problem."
Passengers were taken by taxi to Bridgeport.
Wilburn said the incident is under investigation, but he couldn't comment further.
Silver Airways said 11 passengers and three crewmembers were on board at the time of what the company called a diversion.
"Safety is our top priority, and we have launched an internal review to determine what led to the flight diversion," said David Querio, chief operating officer. "We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience to passengers aboard flight 4049 last evening."
The Federal Aviation Administration confirmed it is investigating but offered no further details.
Silver operates under the United Express program, with weekday flights between Morgantown and Bridgeport, and Dulles, Va.
It became the new carrier Aug. 1, replacing Colgan Air, and will provide federally subsidized service for two years in Bridgeport, Morgantown and Beckley. Silver also serves airports in Lewisburg and Parkersburg, and has a maintenance facility in DuBois, Pa.