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Delta flight mistakenly lands at base in South Dakota

Delta flight mistakenly lands at base in South Dakota

More than 100 Delta passengers on board a flight bound for Rapid City, South Dakota got an unexpected surprise Thursday night when their plane mistakenly landed at an Air Force Base, about five miles north of the aircraft's intended target.

After realizing the error and coordinating with officials, the flight re-departed for Rapid City on Thursday night.

Delta offered a gesture of apology to the passengers, the airline said.

The National Transportation Safety Board is conducting an investigation into the incident. Delta also said an internal review has already begun.

The Air Force base is located 10 miles south of the airport, and has a runway oriented in a similar direction.

The crew involved has been taken off-duty.

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Citing security reasons, base officials declined to answer questions from The Associated Press regarding the specific procedures followed during the incident and whether air traffic controllers at the base were in contact with the pilot and authorized the landing. The pilots were fired after that incident.

Greenberg's sister, Martha Koontz, was among 130 passengers on Delta Air Lines Flight 2845, flown by an Airbus A320 plane. The Associated Press says the mistaken airport is "an airfield that usually sees only cropdusters".

As for the landed plane, the flight did leave the Air Force base and landed at the correct airport - albeit after a three-hour delay.

A passenger told the paper they had waited around two and a half hours to take off again, but only after armed personnel searched the plane.

Of the 35 documented wrong landings, at least 23 occurred at airports with shorter runways, creating potential safety issues. A nearby highway was shut down as a safety precaution.

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