Plane Slides Off Runway At Rock Springs Airport After Encountering Black Ice Conditions

Icy conditions led a near-capacity United flight with nearly 50 people on board to slide off a runway while landing at the southwest Wyoming airport Tuesday night.

Leo Wolfson

December 28, 20222 min read

Rock springs airport plane off runway 12 28 22

By Leo Wolfson, Cowboy State Daily

A commercial jet slid off a runway while attempting to land at Southwest Regional Airport in Rock Springs on Tuesday night after encountering “black ice conditions,” according to the Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Department. 

No injuries were reported.

“While we never like to see something like this occur, we are grateful the passengers and everyone involved is safe,” said Southwest Regional Airport Director Devon Brubaker.

Brubaker said he has only slept two hours in the past 36 hours handling the incident.

“It’s been a very long day,” he said.

What Happened

At about 9:40 p.m., the United Airlines SkyWest flight with 47 passengers and crew on board slid off the runway, according to the Rock Springs Police Department. 

The flight was near capacity, as the CRJ-200 aircraft holds around 50 passengers and three crew members, Brubaker said.

Brubaker complimented the patience exhibited by passengers on board, which he said led to emergency staff being able to effectively do their jobs.

“The passengers were phenomenal,” he said.

Buses from Sweetwater County School District No. 1 assisted in transporting passengers from the plane to safety. 

Rock Springs PD, the Sheriff’s Department, Sweetwater County Emergency Management and the Rock Springs Fire Department also assisted with the incident.

Coming From DIA

The flight was coming from Denver International Airport. Brubaker said the plane only partially slid off the runway and that its rear landing gear never left the pavement surface by the time it came to a stop.

The cause of the crash is still under investigation by the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board. Brubaker said the plane has been removed from the runway.

“We look forward to seeing those reports and what the potential causes were,” Brubaker said.

Brubaker would not comment as to what he believes was the cause of the crash because of the ongoing investigation. He said there was intermittent rain and snow in Rock Springs during the day, but there was no falling precipitation when the crash happened. 

Brubaker said he has never seen an accident like this happen during his eight years at the airport.

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Leo Wolfson

Politics and Government Reporter