A PLANE skidded off the runway at Inverness Airport as sub-zero temperatures blasted Scotland.
The Flybe aircraft with 47 passengers and two crew on board, travelling from Manchester, was taxiing after having landed when the incident happened at around 10.15am. No one was injured.
A Flybe spokesperson said: “Flybe can confirm that, when taxiing at low speed at the end of the runway having landed safely at Inverness Airport this morning, the wheels of the Q400 aircraft skidded on the surface of the airfield causing it to slide onto the grass.
“The 47 passengers and four crew were unharmed and exited the aircraft by the stairs for bus transfer to the terminal where they collected their luggage as normal.
“The safety of its passengers and crew is the airline’s number one priority and Flybe regrets any inconvenience experienced as a result of this incident.”
All flights to and from the Highland airport have currently been suspended.
A spokesman for Highlands and Islands Airports said: “The airport is currently closed to allow for the safe removal of the aircraft. Passengers are being advised to check in as normal but to expect some delays.
As the biggest freeze of the winter gripped the country, sending temperatures plunging to -12C in parts of the far north, there were a series of car crashes reported.
Five people were taken to Raigmore Hospital in Inverness after a car ploughed into the group walking on the High Street in Ardersier, near Inverness.
The collision happened in the village, which is also close to the Fort George Barracks, at around 9.20am on Monday.
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The pedestrians, some believed to be from the 18th century barracks, were taken to Raigmore Hospital by both air and road. The extent of the injuries are not yet known.
A Police Scotland spokesman said: “Emergency services were in attendance at a road traffic collision on the High Street in Ardersier.
“The heli-med and road ambulance were called and we believe there were five casualties. They have been taken to Raigmore Hospital, some by air and some by road.
“The road was closed to traffic following the crash.”
In a separate incident, firefighters used cutting gear to free a driver from the wreckage of their car following a crash involving a bus on the A95.
The accident happened about 7.20am about a mile west of Drumuillie, near Boat of Garten.
Temperatures fell to -12.5C at both Tulloch Bridge and Loch Glascarnoch in the Scottish Highlands, with thermometers plunging to well below freezing across the rest of the UK.
The deep chill eclipsed the -9C at Cromdale, Moray on Boxing Day.
Forecasters warn the cold temperatures, below the seasonal average, could continue until later in the week, with snow likely in northern parts of the country tomorrow and Wednesday.
The below-average temperatures meant large parts of the UK were colder than Moscow, where it was minus 2.4C and Copenhagen in Denmark, where it was a comparatively balmy 1.3C.
But it did not come close to Naimakka in the far north of Sweden, where it dropped to a bone-shuddering -32.3C.
John Lee, a forecaster with MeteoGroup, said conditions in some parts of the UK last night were ideal for very cold weather.
Speaking of the low temperatures at Loch Glascarnoch, he said: “It was quite clear last night, with winds lighter than they have been, clear skies and fresh snow cover. They were the ideal conditions to get into the minus double figures.
“It has definitely been the coldest night of the year so far.”
Mr Lee said the cold weather was likely to stay for the coming days, brought about by a weather front coming in from the West.
He said: “It is staying cold, and tonight we are looking at temperatures going widely below zero. Once again it could potentially get near to what we saw last night, but more likely -7C or -8C in Scotland.
“It is the daytime maximums that are unusual, not getting above 1C or 2C. The average for this time of year is 6C or 7C, and we are going to see 5C or 6C lower than that.”
Mr Lee said temperatures tonight could reach minus 3C or 4C in England and Wales and minus 10C in Scotland.
“Up to 4C will be the highest anywhere in the UK today and tomorrow,” he added. “Widely it will be 1C or 2C, and in parts of the south it could reach 4C.”
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