June 1, 2017
By David Shepardson
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The pilot and first officer of the plane carrying U.S. Republican vice presidential nominee Mike Pence that skidded off a runway in October 2016 thought the incident would end their careers, according to documents released on Thursday.
The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board published transcripts of the cockpit voice recorders from the incident in which the Boeing 737-700 operated by Eastern Air Lines Group ran off the runway at LaGuardia Airport in New York.
There were 37 passengers on the plane, including Pence, his wife, Karen, daughter Charlotte and 11 crew. The plane was coming from Fort Dodge, Iowa, where Pence, who was elected vice president in November’s election, had participated in a campaign event.
The plane was stopped by a crushable type of concrete runway, stopping the aircraft’s movement. No one was injured.
“My career just ended,” one of the pilots said. The other responded: “Mine too.”
One added after landing: “Unfortunately I should have gone straight ahead and we would have been fine, when I made the turn is when I screwed up.” The other pilot responded: “I was fighting you because I was trying to stay on the centerline.”
The pilot said in a statement that the first officer made a maneuver he was not expecting “and I instinctively applied maximum manual braking.”
Eastern Air Lines did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.
The transcript showed a Secret Service agent entered the cockpit and praised the pilots: “Nice job… you stopped it at least.”
In November, the NTSB reported the plane “floated” above the runway without touching down and landed about 3,000 feet (915 meters) beyond the runway threshold – far more than normal.
The Eastern flight crew did not report any mechanical problems and the flight crews of the four airplanes that landed immediately beforehand did not report any problems with braking on the runway.
Eastern Air Lines is based in Florida and privately held.
(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Peter Cooney)