[Update: Aug. 26, 2019, 4:50 p.m.] Thanking passengers for their patience, Airport Director Henry Thompson announced runway 7 was back open for business, and so was Santa Barbara’s airport. The C-130 that had closed SBA for 19 hours sits about 500 feet south of the main east-west runway and is keeping north-south runways 15L and 15R closed until it is moved. Thompson advised checking with airlines for up-to-date flight information.
[Update: Aug. 26, 2019, 11:30 a.m.] Santa Barbara airport will remain closed into the afternoon, airport officials stated in an update. Daylight revealed more debris to be removed from the runways, and investigators continue to look into the cause of the crash of the C-130. As the cargo plane landed from the west on runway 7, said airport spokesperson Deanna Zachrisson, it careened to the right toward the terminal and then spun around on the grassy infield. It remains at a tilted angle, but it’s uncertain whether its landing gear is responsible, she said. A crane and trailers may be needed to remove the C-130, Zachrisson reported.
The line at the United Airlines counter this morning stretched to the door of the Santa Barbara Municipal Airport as early-morning travelers learned the runways were closed after a crash-landing the night before. On Sunday around 10:30 p.m., a civilian C-130 cargo plane flown by International Air Response made an emergency landing on the main runway. It was flying from Santa Maria on its way to Mesa, Arizona, when it developed hydraulic problems. The aircraft apparently caught fire after it came in, which was quenched by the City Fire crew stationed at the airport. The seven people onboard were unhurt.
#AircraftEmergency– A Private C-130 aircraft made an emergency landing, crashed and caught fire at the Santa Barbara Airport at 10:13 p.m. Sunday. 7 souls aboard/escaped w no injuries. **ALL MEDIA CALL SBAirport PIO At 805-319-1400** pic.twitter.com/ptJJbeUM2q— SBCFireInfo (@EliasonMike) August 26, 2019
Investigators had been waiting for daylight before assessing the airplane, said Deanna Zachrisson, an SBA spokesperson. Airport authorities hoped to be able to taxi scheduled fights around the enormous, four-engine plane stuck in the midfield by mid-day, she said. Five flights Sunday night and 22 flights Monday morning had to be rescheduled, forcing about 1,900 passengers to divert to other airports or change their travel plans.
This story will be updated as new information becomes available.