Plane Runs Off Runway

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A pilot was trying to land a twin engine King Air around 7:30 Wednesday morning. The plane ran about 260 feet off the south end of the runway near Highway 390.

Airport officials are not sure if the plane had mechanical problems or if the accident was caused by pilot error. Either way officials say those aboard are lucky; they say it could have been a lot worse.

"The only real damage that occurred was the tires were blown when the pilot was trying to stop and skidded into the dirt. Had it been the other side of the runway where the safety area is much shorter, 260 feet off the runway would have been in the bay," says Randy Curtis, the airport director.

Airport relocation supporters say the accident underscores what they've been saying all along about the safety of our runway.

"It really brings home what we've been trying to say all along, that safety is the most important thing. That's why we support relocating to the new site where the runways would meet all FAA regulations," says Amy Ausley of Partners for Progress.

The FAA now requires a 1,000-feet-long runway safety area. On the north end of the runway there's only 59 feet between the runway itself and the bay.