(Adds Delta reaction, quote from NTSB chairman, details from
By David Shepardson
WASHINGTON, Sept 13 The U.S. National
Transportation Safety Board on Tuesday faulted a Delta Air Lines
pilot for a March 2015 incident in which a Boeing MD-88
veered off the runway at New York's LaGuardia Airport, resulting
in minor injuries to 29 passengers.
The report said the pilot's use of excessive reverse thrust
during landing led to a loss of directional control and the
jet's departure from the snow-covered runway.
The report also said the flight and cabin crews did not
conduct a timely or effective evacuation for a number of
reasons, including the fact that damage to the aircraft resulted
in the loss of the interphone and public address system, which
delayed an announcement to evacuate the aircraft.
The evacuation of the plane with 127 passengers and crew
took 17 minutes and did not start until six minutes after
landing, the NTSB said.
The plane struck a chain-link fence before coming to rest on
a snow-covered embankment just feet from Flushing Bay with its
left wing tank leaking fuel.
"Make no mistake: This was a very close call," NTSB chairman
Christopher Hart said on Tuesday.
LaGuardia, the smallest of the New York area's three major
airports, was temporarily closed after the mishap.
The report said the captain faced situational stress at the
time of landing, which prevented him from immediately
recognizing the use of excessive reverse thrust.
Delta said in a statement it had cooperated in the probe and
"we respect their findings, conclusions and recommendations.
Delta leaders will use this NTSB guidance to further enhance the
safety of our global operation."
The NTSB report also raised concerns about the initial
uncertainty about the number of passengers aboard the plane,
which didn't include two lap-held children. The report also
faulted the Federal Aviation Administration's airport winter
safety guidance as "not sufficiently clear about the timing and
need for updated runway condition reports."
(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by James Dalgleish)