Vietjet plane skidded 650 meters off runway: report

By Huu Cong, Doan Loan, Hoang Thuy   June 16, 2020 | 10:14 am GMT+7
Vietjet plane skidded 650 meters off runway: report
A Vietjet Air's aircraft is pulled to the garage for repairing after it skidded off the runway at Tan Son Nhat International Airport in HCMC, June 15, 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Ngoc Tuan.

The Vietjet Air aircraft that had a narrow escape while landing in HCMC Sunday shot 650 meters off the runway, a report says.

The report, by Tan Son Nhat International Airport authorities, said the Airbus A321neo had 217 passengers, including six children, and a crew of eight, with an Indian captain and a Sri Lankan co-pilot.

It arrived in the city from Phu Quoc Island just after noon before skidding off the runway and into a grassy bank.

When the plane came to a halt, its wheels were buried in the soil, and it took 18 hours to extricate and tow it back to the runway.

Vietjet Air has blamed strong winds and heavy rains for the mishap.

Inspectors have found three metal fragments they suspect are from the aircraft's wing.

The airport had to temporarily shut down since the runway is currently the only one in operation with the other being closed for upgrades.

As a result, seven flights that were about to take off from the airport were delayed and 20 flights that were waiting to land had to be diverted to other airports.

The airport shut down for six hours and nearly 190 flights were affected.

One flight from Taipei took seven hours, compared to the normal three hours, as the aircraft could not land and had to circle repeatedly.

Minister of Transport Nguyen Van The said investigators from the Civil Aviation Administration of Vietnam would decode the black box to find out why the pilot decided to land in such bad weather conditions.

"[The decision to land] was a big mistake by the pilot," The said.

"When landing, the pilot gets guidance from air traffic controllers, but the pilot has the right to decide whether to land or not."

The minister also instructed the investigators to find out why air traffic control gave permission for the pilot to land and how much information it had about weather conditions that day.  

The pilots have had their licenses seized pending the investigation.

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