UPDATED: Pence plane slides off runway at LaGuardia; VP candidate OK

by Joni B. Hannigan, Editorial Staff |

UPDATED Oct. 28, 8 a.m. EST

LAGUARDIA, NY (Christian Examiner) – A plane carrying Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, the GOP nominee for president, skidded off a runway at New York's LaGuardia airport Thursday night, Oct. 27 after a "hard landing," according to a live report by CNN's Elizabeth Landers, who was at the airport.

No injuries were reported among the 48 on the plane, but both the runway and tarmac apparently are heavily damaged.

"We're fine," Pence told CNN in a phone interview. "It was about 10 seconds of uncertainty last night, but we're just so grateful to the pilots and to the first responders on the scene and (that) everybody came off the plane safely."

The Federal Aviation Administration issued an immediate ground stop at the airport and will investigate the accident, according to accident investigator, David Soucie. He said it has yet to be determined if the accident is related to the weather or if it could have been the result of intentional damage to the runway.

It was later reported one of two runways at the airport was re-opened with the affected runway closed. The FAA reported delays are expected to continue.

Gov. Mike Pence posted a photo on social media that shows him playing football a few hours before his plan skidded off a runway at Laguardia. The weather delay had led to some football on the tarmac in Iowa. | Mike Pence/Facebook

Pence's plane, a Boeing 737-700 chartered from Eastern Airlines and painted with the Trump/Pence campaign logo attempted the landing after it was on a ground hold in Iowa for weather at LaGuardia.

The Trump campaign reported: "Mr. Trump did reach out to Gov. Pence and is very glad everyone on board plane is safe."

In shortly over three hours, a Facebook comment and photo with Pence throwing a football on the tarmac at the airport in Iowa had been shared 1,000 times and had received over 12,000 reactions and drew nearly 500 comments, including the following:

Tamara Harrison Praise God you're safe.

Brian Smith So glad you and everyone on the plane are ok!
Trump / Pence 2016

Daphine Shean-Tredinnick Just heard of your terrifying landing. I'm a Democrat and voting for Hillary but, I am thankful that you and all on board are ok! 

Leslie Mccullough Thanking God you all are ok!

After the plane skidded off the runway, the Secret Service reported to Pence that there was no structural damage, Landers said in the CNN report.

Pence headed back to back of the plane where the press had observed a "fishtail" effect — to inquire about the condition of the press, Landers said.

Rescue crews, police, and other first responders surrounded the plane afterwards. Pence's aids were reported to have said, "all systems go," a reporter indicated.

Just before 9 p.m. EST, Pence, who reportedly left the airport for a hotel room, Tweeted:

"So thankful everyone on our plane is safe. Grateful for our first responders & the concern & prayers of so many. Back on the trail tomorrow!"

A closed-door fundraising event in New York was cancelled for Thursday night.