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GOO GOO DOLLS UNHURT IN JET RUNWAY MISHAP

A Navy plane carrying Buffalo's Goo Goo Dolls skidded off the runway while landing during a rainstorm after returning from a Christmas mission to entertain U.S. troops in Bosnia, a U.S. Navy official said Sunday.

No one was hurt in the incident at the Sigonella naval air station in the west of the Mediterranean island.

"At around 9:30 p.m. (local time), the C-9 transport plane slid off the runway while making a landing at the naval air station here," Lt. Cappy Surette told Reuters by telephone.

"They're OK. They were scared. The went onto the grass and then went back on the runway," said Mary Melia, a spokeswoman for the band. "Robbie (Takac) said it's the scariest thing that ever happened to him."

Melia said the plane attempted two landing approaches in severe rain, wind and lightning conditions before touching down on the third attempt. The plane skidded off the runway and slid back on again, causing damage to the aircraft's landing gear and wing.

The air crew opened the hatches, and all passengersexited emergency chutes onto the runway, she said. No serious injuries were reported, other than minor bumps, bruises and lacerations.

"Robbie got cut on his hand, he said," Melia said.

"While the weather was a factor -- it was rainy and there was lightning and high winds -- I can't speculate on the overall cause of the mishap," Surette said.

The Navy said the cause of the crash was under investigation and that damage to the $35 million aircraft was being assessed.

Surette said 30 people were on board, including military personnel and the band's entourage.

"We're very relieved no one was hurt. The Goo Goo Dolls have taken time out of their busy world tour to entertain troops and their families, and we want them to get home safely," he said.

"The safety of our military personnel and our guests is our primary concern. We are fortunate that there were no injuries," Surette added.

"The shows were great," he said of the rock group's tour. "They really boosted the morale of our men and women, especially during the holidays."

Bosnia was the last stop on the band's European military Christmas Tour, which saw them play to thousands of American service men and women.

"They had a great time," Melia said, adding that the inauspicious landing would not taint the trip for the band.

The Goo Goo Dolls are headed home today, she said.

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