CHICAGO (CBS) — Today marks 10 years since a Southwest Airlines plane skidded off the runway at Midway Airport, slamming into an automobile and killing a child.
The accident happened on a snowy evening around 7:14 p.m. on Dec. 8, 2005.
Flight 1248 landed on runway 31C and rolled through a blast fence and then a perimeter fence before stopping near the intersection of 55th Street and Central Avenue just outside the airport property.
The plane came to a stop on top of a vehicle with a family of five people inside. A six-year-old child, Joshua Woods, of Leroy, Ind., was killed, and the four others were injured.
According to an account in the Chicago Tribune, the boys father, Leroy, had intended to take a different route, down Cicero, but traffic was slowed by the snow, so he decided to drive down Central Avenue instead.
According to the National Transportation Safety Board:
“The probable cause of this accident was the pilots’ failure to use available reverse thrust in a timely manner to safely slow or stop the airplane after landing, which resulted in a runway overrun. This failure occurred because the pilots’ first experience and lack of familiarity with the airplane’s auto brake system distracted them from thrust reverser usage during the challenging landing.”
In April, 2007, the family quietly settled a negligence lawsuit filed against Southwest and Boeing, the maker of the 737 airliner.
Eighteen of the 103 people on the flight, which departed from BWI Airport in Baltimore, suffered minor injuries.
As a result of the crash, the FAA proposed adjusting safety margins when determining runway stopping distances, especially on shorter fields like Midway.
Also on this day in 1972, a United Airlines plane crashed on approach to Midway, killing 45 people. The aircraft struck trees and then roofs along West 71st Street before crashing into a house.