A Southwest Airlines flight headed for Tampa drove off the runway Thursday morning and got stuck in the mud at Long Island's MacArthur Airport.
"It's raining, it's freezing...there's ice hitting the plane,"said Joe Massaro, one of the 129 passengers onboard. "All of a sudden - the whole plane just stopped. Like everyone almost hit their head on the seat."
The unexpected turn for passengers happened as Flight 4695 was taxiing to the runway just after 6:00 a.m.
"We just made your day very exciting," said the pilot to air traffic controllers in a cockpit recording captured by LiveATC.net. "We just taxied off the taxiway into the grass here."
Massaro said that pilot apologized.
"He told us he made a mistake and thought [the pavement] was wider than what it was," Massaro said. "He turned and he just ran into the mud. So it was like 'My Cousin Vinny.' He had mud in the wheels."
Massaro said passengers onboard cheered when they landed in Tampa around 3:00 p.m. It was six hours after they were supposed to.
"Planes only go forward. They don't have a backwards button," he said as he laughed and explained how the crew worked to figure out how to get the 737 out of the mud. "Then we get the stories: They're going to get a tow truck. Then they were going to take us off the plane to lessen the weight and then take us backwards."
Eventually airport crews drove out a mobile staircase, deplaned those passengers and put them on another 737.
"When we got on this flight at 12:00, that same plane was still sitting there in the mud," said Nicole Reda, who was flying from Long Island to Tampa for vacation. "We left our house at 5:00 in the morning and we're just getting here. It's been a really long day."
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