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Plane Skids Off Runway In Germany

Around 165 passengers and six crew-members on board an aircraft bound for Spain's Canary Islands had a miraculous escape Monday when the plane skidded off the runway at West Germany's Dortmund airport at 7:05 a.m. (0605GMT) after the pilot aborted the take-off.

The pilot of Air Berlin Boeing 737-800, applied brakes prior to take-off after noticing "some irregularities" on the computer, media reports quoted airport officials as saying.

However, the aircraft could not be halted, and it rolled out of the icy runway and slid several hundred meters in the snow before halting in a nearby field with its nose pointing down.

A spokeswoman for Air Berlin confirmed the pilot had decided to abort the take-off. A combination of snowy weather and the speed the plane was running at made it (plane) to skid off the runway. But there was no need for conducting an emergency evacuation and none was injured; also, passengers left the aircraft in an orderly manner using the flight of steps, she added.

Following the incident, Dortmund airport canceled all other 32 flights for the day, while incoming flights were diverted to other airports, inconveniencing 5,000 air travelers.

Heavy snow continues to paralyze traffic in Germany, with large parts of the country experiencing heavy snowfall in the last few days, making travel hazardous.

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