(Bloomberg) — The Air Canada plane that crash-landed
during a snowstorm early Sunday in Halifax, Nova Scotia, skidded
off the runway on its belly after hitting an antenna display
that took off the landing gear, investigators said.

All but one of the 23 passengers and crew admitted to area
hospitals after the Airbus A320’s landing were released after
being treated with non-critical injuries, Air Canada said. No
information was released on the person still being treated.

Flight AC624, carrying 133 passengers and five crew
members, left Toronto late Saturday and went off the runway upon
landing at Stanfield International Airport, according to the
Transportation Safety Board of Canada. The landing occurred
shortly before 1 a.m. local time, Air Canada said.

The plane touched down 1,100 feet before the runway and was
on its belly for about the same distance, Mike Cunningham,
regional manager of aircraft accident investigation for the TSB,
said.

“They were lucky,” Cunningham said at a press conference
in Halifax. The plane’s engine became detached and the nose cone
broke off, he said. “There was quite of bit of damage and
debris.”

The landing severed a power line as well, causing the
airport to lose power, Cunningham said. The power was out for
about an hour.

The TSB will be investigating whether pilot error or
weather caused the accident, Klaus Goersch, executive vice
president of Air Canada, said in an earlier press conference.

The airport doesn’t assess whether it’s safe to fly based
on the weather, said Peter Spurway, a spokesman for the airport.
“The airline and the pilots make those determinations,” he
said.

‘Greatly Relieved’

“We at Air Canada are greatly relieved that no one was
critically injured,” Goersch said in a statement. “We will
also fully cooperate with the Transportation Safety Board as it
begins an investigation to determine the cause.”

Asked to comment on the time it took the airport to move
passengers off the snowy tarmac, Spurway acknowledged the
response could have been faster.

“Our estimate was 40 to 50 minutes — we had to get
vehicles to a restricted area,” he said. “We needed to muster
and get vehicles that then would go through a security
checkpoint before they could get to the airfield. It took longer
than passengers would have liked and we would have liked as
well.”

Firefighters were at the scene within 90 seconds and their
first priority was dealing with any possibility of fire, Spurway
said.

To contact the reporter on this story:
Cecile Gutscher in Toronto at
cgutscher@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story:
Bernard Kohn at
bkohn2@bloomberg.net
Bruce Rule, Nancy Moran