Federal investigators studying why ANA aircraft overshot runway

An All Nippon Airways Co. pilot and crew members are being investigated by accident inspectors following an incident on a flight from Tokyo that ended with their overrunning  the runway at Shonai Airport in northern Japan.

There were no injuries aboard the Boeing 737 aircraft with 161 passengers and six crew aboard on the flight from Tokyo’s Haneda Airport Sunday, and the plane itself was not damaged.  The Transport Ministry is involved because it has classified the incident as serious.

The incident occurred about 10:30 p.m. during a snowstorm.  The aircraft had already been circling the airport for about an hour, waiting for a break in the weather and for snow to be cleared from the runway to permit landing. Three inspectors  sent by the Japan Transport Safety Board have begun their investigation.

An ANA official says that despite the pilot’s application of the brakes, the plane overran the runway for about 80 meters and came to a stop in a grassy area.

ANA apologized for “causing trouble to our passengers” and said it will “fully cooperate” with the safety board’s investigations. The 35-year-old pilot, who has flight records of 4,494 hours and 40 minutes, had not caused any accident until the incident, according to the airline.