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Holiday jet skids off runway

A plane carrying dozens of British holidaymakers skidded off a runway as it landed today, ending up just yards from a beach.

The Air Europa jet, with 74 people on board, went off the end of the landing strip moments after touching down in Lanzarote in the Canaries.

It came to a halt close to the airport perimeter fence and down a small embankment, close to a fence beside the beach.

The plane, which had set off from Glasgow at 3am, ended up at right angles to the runway.

Holidaymakers had to be evacuated from the aircraft following the dramatic landing at around 7am.

But local police confirmed no one had been hurt in the incident. Passengers were taken to their hotels to carry on their holiday.

Arrecife Airport was closed for several hours as a result of the accident.

The modern Boeing 737 aircraft was chartered by Thomas Cook.

A spokesman for Thomas Cook said: "We can confirm that an Air Europa flight (AEA196), which was charted by Thomas Cook, was involved in a runway incident at Lanzarote's Arrecife Airport this morning.

"Thomas Cook staff were on hand at the airport to assist all passengers and can confirm that all guests are now en route to their holiday hotels.

"Thomas Cook has called on Air Europa and the airport authorities to provide a full explanation."

A spokesman for Air Europa said: "There was a problem on landing. All the passengers left the plane and are fine and are being taken to their hotels."

Air Europa was founded in 1986 and is based in Palma, on the Spanish island of Majorca.

Its service include flights from Europe to holiday resorts in the Canary Islands and Balearic Islands.

And it operates domestic scheduled flights and long-haul services to North America, South America and the Caribbean.

Its fleet comprises of 32 modern Boeing aircraft and an Airbus A340.

Nora McNair, 80, from Orkney, who was on board with her disabled husband Archie, 84, said the plane began rocking after it landed.

She told the BBC Scotland website: "We seemed to make a very good landing, and then we were coming along a bit fast and the next thing we knew the plane was rocking from side to side and then they had to slam on the brakes and we just landed a few inches from a wall and the sea."

She said the wheels were "absolutely smoking when they put on the brakes".

A spokesman for Air Europa said: "The runway was wet and the plane skidded off its normal trajectory.

"We have had rain here all night and the ground was wet.

"The plane is fine, it can fly but I don't know if it will fly again today.

"There were 74 passengers on board and they were able to leave the plane in the normal way, walking down the steps.

"There were no doctors at the scene because there were no injuries.

"Many passengers are already at their destinations now."