Snowbound: WestJet plane is shown here on Kelowna International Airport apron after it got stuck while attempting to taxi onto the runway from the terminal apron. All the passengers had to disembark and arrange for a later light to the scheduled destination.

Kelowna: Airport reports given overdose of false drama

False reports of plane crash cause confusion for YLW

  • Tue Jan 8th, 2013 9:00am
  • News

Kelowna International Airport did not close due to a plane crash Monday morning, airport staff told media at the outset of the week.

Though several news reports, tweets and other social media posts indicated a much more dramatic affair had taken place, airport marketing and media relations coordinator Jenelle Hynes was saying the commotion was all for naught.

“We had reporters asking in Toronto and Vancouver,” said Hynes. “But no, the airport did not close (due to a plane crash).”

A WestJet flight had pulled away from the gate on the area known as the apron and one wheel missed getting onto the small road known as the taxiway as the plane headed for the runway.

The plane was towed to back to the terminal after passengers disembarked via a portable staircase onto the apron and the plane was given a mechanical inspection before the next flight.

Whether the incident was weather related or not still isn’t clear, but it was snowing heavily at the time. The airport had closed several earlier that morning due to weather.

Kelowna received eight to 15 centimetres of snow Monday, according to Doug Lundquist, Environment Canada Weather Services.

“We have another storm coming to maybe spread stuff in and around mid-day (Tuesday),” Lundquist added.

He noted  the first storm will typically offer up the biggest dump of snow, but another five to 10 centimetres is likely on the way from today to Wednesday.

An arctic front is expected to follow, meaning this snow won’t have much time to melt.

“We haven’t had any arctic air so far this year,” said Lundquist. “And we do typically see some arctic air each winter.”

Lundquist expects it will happen over the weekend with temperatures dipping to the negative double digits or just enough to see some ice wine made.

Thus far, temperatures are 1.5 degrees above average for the last 90 days from the Penticton weather station and almost two degrees above average from the Kamloops weather station, the closest to monitor overall trends.

Kelowna traffic officers were kept hopping Monday as drivers struggled with the challenging road conditions.