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Air Canada flight comes off runway in Halifax, 25 hurt

Montreal: An Air Canada plane came off the runway after landing at Halifax Stanfield International Airport in Nova Scotia early today, sending at least 25 people to hospital with minor injuries, officials said.

The airline said earlier on Twitter that flight AC624 from Toronto “exited runway upon landing at Halifax.”

It did not say what caused the Airbus A320 to leave the runway after landing, but heavy snow was forecast in the eastern Canadian city. Environment Canada issued a snowfall alert and warned of low visibility.

Halifax Airport spokesman Peter Spurway said 25 people were taken to hospital with non-life threatening injuries and all 137 people aboard the flight — 132 passengers and five crew — were accounted for.

Power was out at the airport at the time of the incident, but Spurway did not say whether there was a link between this and the accident.

“We did lose power, we’re not sure if the two incidents are connected. They may be but we’re not sure,” he told.

Back-up generators were running when the flight landed and the runways were lit, he added.

Spurway could not confirm reports that the plane’s wings became tangled in electricity wires upon landing, saying only that the Transportation Safety Board of Canada would investigate and also look into the cause of the accident.

The airport’s two runways will remain closed until at least 6:00 am today (0900 GMT).

Spurway said passengers appeared shaken as they left the plane, describing the incident as “scary.”

Greg Wright was waiting to meet his 13 year-old son.

He told CBC News he thought his son was joking when he called to say there had been an accident.

“He said, ‘We crashed, we crashed,'” Wright told CBC. “I was panicked.”

Images showed the aircraft sitting on the runway with a damaged nose as thick snow covered the ground.

The flight had departed from Toronto at 9:05 pm yesterday.

Several counties in the eastern coastal province of Nova Scotia were affected by winter weather alert.

The alert had been cancelled by early today but light snow was expected until late morning.

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