AFP – A cargo plane broke up Thursday while making an emergency landing at Juan Santamaría International Airport, 25 kilometers from San José, in Costa Rica, in an accident without casualties that caused the temporary closure of the facilities, authorities reported.
“The two people (who were onboard) are in good condition,” the head of Costa Rica’s Fire Department, Héctor Chaves, told reporters.
The accident occurred around 16:24 GMT, when a Boeing-757 of the German courier company DHL, which had taken off from the Costa Rican airport bound for Guatemala, was forced to turn back due to a mechanical failure.
According to official information, the crew of the Panamanian-registered aircraft alerted local authorities of hydraulic problems, which forced it to return to the airport 25 minutes after takeoff.
During the emergency landing, the plane skidded off the runway and broke in two, in a roar that frightened neighbors living in nearby houses.
After the accident, a blue liquid was observed on the runway and smoke due, according to firefighters, to the loss of hydraulic fluid and overheating of the wheels due to braking difficulties.
“Undoubtedly there was a serious problem. We are facing a very important emergency,” Chaves said. However, “at no time has there been a fire, fire is totally ruled out,” he added.
The pilot presented “nervous alteration”, but both crew members, of Guatemalan nationality, are “oriented and remember everything they experienced”, said Vásquez.
Due to the accident, the airport, the most important in the country, was closed for five and a half hours, affecting more than fifty flights and some 8,500 passengers.
“The air terminal service (is) already operating normally, both for arriving and departing flights,” said Ricardo Hernandez, executive director of Aeris, the state-owned company that manages the airport.
“The authorities of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation of Costa Rica are conducting the relevant investigations and are in communication with our authorities,” Panama’s Civil Aviation Authority wrote on its Twitter account.