NEW YORK — Vice Presidential candidate Mike Pence's campaign plane slid off the runway at New York City's LaGuardia airport Thursday evening. No one was injured, officials said.
Emergency crews rushed to respond to the incident and campaign staff and members of the press were asked to disembark from the plane. A special material in place just off the runway — an arrester bed — helped slow down the plane, stopping it about 100 yards short of the entering onto the nearby highway.
The governor was traveling to New York from Iowa for a fundraiser at Trump Tower. Pence ultimately did not attend the fundraiser but, instead, called into the event and addressed the gathering by speaker phone, aides said.
His wife, daughter, U.S. Rep. Jeb Hensarling, and several campaign advisers were also on board.
"Mr. Trump did reach out to Governor Pence and is very glad everyone on board the plane is safe," the campaign said in a statement.
Before evacuating the plane, Pence walked down the cabin aisle to check on the Secret Service detail, traveling press members and flight crew. He told the media of splattered mud on the front windows, giving an early indication that the plane had, in fact, skidded off the runway.
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One reporter noted to Pence: “2016?” The governor demurred, but he gave two gentle fist pumps — after a brief pause — before returning to the front of the plane.
The 737 campaign charter plane that has served as Pence’s transportation since joining the GOP presidential ticket in July often lands with roughness.
The Guardian reported in September that one of the pilots of the Pence campaign plane is battling charges of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon after alleged incidents in which the man used his car to injure an individual.
Campaign aides said an alternative plane is en route to the city for the campaign’s use on Friday. It will depart for a campaign stop in Pennsylvania and then head to North Carolina.
On Thursday, the campaign plane had been held at the Fort Dodge Regional Airport because of weather conditions in New York, officials said, before eventually taking off.
Last month, during the first general election presidential debate at New York's Hofstra University, Donald Trump called LaGuardia a "third world" airport.
"You land at LaGuardia ... you come in from China, you see these incredible airports, and you land — we've become a third world country," he said.
In a statement, the New York City Port Authority said planes were temporarily halted from landing or departing the airport because of the incident.
The incident on the tarmac took place just before Trump took the stage in Geneva, Ohio, Thursday evening.
Trump called his running mate during the 50-minute ride between the Cleveland airport and the Geneva venue, but did not mention the accident until near the end of his rally.
“By the way, I just spoke to our future vice president and he’s okay,” Trump said roughly 40 minutes into his remarks and moments before he closed. "Do you know he was in a big accident with the plane? The plane skidded on the runway and was pretty close to grave, grave danger.” In fact the plane was not in grave danger and thankfully no one was injured.
Reiterating that he just spoke with Pence, Trump added "he’s fine, got out, everybody's fine, everybody's fine."
Trump capped off the riff by further applauding his choice to pick Pence. "What a great decision it was to get Mike Pence. What a great guy he is. What a great job he’s doing."
Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton also responded to the incident with a signed tweet from her Twitter account saying she was "Glad to hear" that Pence and those on board were safe.