May 19

‘Too early to call’ what caused Air Canada flight’s runway excursion at Pearson Airport: TSB

It’s too early to say what caused Air Canada flight 623’s runway excursion at Pearson International Airport Saturday, according to investigators with the Transportation Safety Board (TSB).

Greater Toronto Airport Authorities’ officials said AC Flight 623 from Halifax, which was carrying 118 passengers and six crew members, was “involved in an incident while landing” shortly after midnight but no injuries were reported.

In a press conference Saturday night, Ewan Tasker, regional manager of air investigations for the Transportation Safety Board of Canada, stated that two investigators were dispatched to determine what happened and why.

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“During the landing sequence, the aircraft travelled through the grass on the western side of the runway, eventually coming to a stop on the runway centre line,” Tasker said. “The airline was met by emergency services and passengers were deplaned on the runway and transported to the terminal by buses.”

Tasker went on to say that the apparent damage to the aircraft was minor but further investigation will be needed.

The cockpit voice recorder (CVR) and the flight data recorder (FDR) were taken from the plane and sent to the TSB lab in Ottawa for further analysis.

WATCH: The Transportation Safety Board describes an incident where Air Canada Flight 623 came off the runway on landing at Pearson International Airport in Toronto.

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The next steps for the TSB will be to “interview the flight crew, cabin crew, air traffic control and other witnesses,” according to Tasker. Investigators will then gather more background information surrounding the flight, including such things as the weather at the time of the incident.

Tasker said investigators have to examine all of the information further to draw specific conclusions and that right now “it is too early to call what caused the accident.”

One wheel of the plane was visibly damaged, and passengers on the Airbus A320 told Global News that they think the plane’s wheels went off the runway.

READ MORE: Class-action lawsuit in Air Canada Halifax crash landing going forward

“We were coming in, and we were coming in pretty quickly it seemed,” passenger Faye, who did not want to give her last name, said. “There was a lot of noise and a lot of bumping and we hit very very hard, very rapidly.”

Another passenger also said the landing was frightening.

“It was very rough and very scary,” Diane Power said. “Then there was mud flying up on the windows and we could hear the tires pop —; we could hear something wrong underneath.”

The GTAA said paramedics and firefighters were sent to the scene, but passengers said they weren’t told what happened or checked for injuries.

“The only instruction we got was ‘stay seated, stay seated.’” Faye said.

Isabelle Arthur, spokesperson for Air Canada, told Global News by email that the crew confirmed that pilots made announcements about the incident but did not specify what was said.

“We understand that some customers were unsettled by events and were eager to get on with their travel plans,” Arthur said. “We apologize for the inconvenience. It is always important for us to keep our customers informed.

“We will certainly follow up with customers to address any concerns they may have.”

WATCH: Passengers of Air Canada Fight 623 said the plane slid off the runway after landing. No injuries were reported.

*with files from the Canadian Press