As snow continues to spread across Britain today, the prolonged blast of wintry weather has took a firm hold as conditions worsen across the country.
Things went from bad to worse last night as a plane carrying 196 passengers overshot its landing position at Newcastle airport in the icy conditions.
Passengers had a lucky escape as no one on board was injured, however the airport was closed for a time after the incident and all incoming flights were either cancelled or diverted.
A Thomson spokesman said: “Thomson Airways can confirm that due to the adverse weather conditions, its flight TOM1445 service from Arrecife in Lanzarote to Newcastle, which arrived safely, did experience some minor difficulties on landing.
“All customers and crew onboard the flight are safe and have disembarked from the aircraft.”
Initial reports suggested that the plane circled the airport several times before making its final approach before apparently coming to a halt from the end of the paved area.
29-year-old Natalie Young of Sunderland was one of the panicked passengers on board the flight after returning from a week’s holiday with her family.
The mother-of-two said: “We thought we were about to land at Newcastle but then we felt the plane climbing again. The plane then started circling above the airport and we were told that there was a ‘snow cloud’ above the airport and they didn’t know if we were going to land in Newcastle or have to go to Edinburgh.
“The pilot reassured all the passengers there was enough fuel to get there so that’s what we were expecting. Then we felt the plane coming down again and the plane was shaking from side to side, it was quite violent.
“People were screaming on board ‘we’re going to go past the runway’ and we saw the green lights at the end and the plane carried on going.
“There were lots of fire engines and ambulances waiting for us, so the pilot must have radioed a message saying he thought we were all in danger.
“We heard him say: ‘I’m glad to see everybody,’ when he got out the cockpit.
“We ended up in a field and we were on the plane for about half-an-hour before we could get off. No one was injured thankfully and we all got checked over and they took out details once we were in the airport.
“Our luggage is actually still on the plane because they couldn’t get a truck to the plane to get it off, so we’re waiting for that back.
“Since then the airport have claimed we didn’t go over the runway, but we definitely overshot it.”
With what is said to be the worst November snow to hit Britain for 17 years, much of the eastern half of the country was blanketed by up to 6in yesterday, leaving dozens of schools shut and bringing dozens of road closures, causing chaos for millions of drivers.
The AA said it was called to around 14,000 breakdowns – a 50% increase on a normal November day.
Motorists are being advised to carry warm clothing and a fully charged mobile, and are warned to watch out for that inconspicuous black ice as conditions are said to worsen next week, with winds picking up and temperatures getting colder.