I’m watching CNN’s coverage of tonight’s incident at Chicago’s Midway International Airport in which Southwest Airlines Flight 1248 skidded off the runway upon landing in a snowstorm and crashed into a busy intersection just beyond the runway.

CNN is using Google Earth to show an aerial shot of the airport so I went to look at it myself on Google Maps (see picture above). I have never been to Chicago and very unfamiliar with the airports there, but looking at Midway Airport I can only ask myself the question that serves as the headline of this post. I can’t believe an airport in a major city that serves 17 million travelers a year was designed with such a minimal buffer area between the runways and the neighborhood roadways.

Nobody on the plane suffered any injuries and were evacuated successfully. However, the plane hit two cars at the intersection of West 55th Street and S. Central Avenue, which is located just beyond the northwest corner of the airport. One car was unoccupied, but the other was carrying a family of five and a six-year-old boy was killed.

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