Manila Airport Largely Shuts Down After 737 Skids off Runway
On Thursday afternoon, news broke that a Xiamen Airlines Boeing 737-800 veered off a runway in Manila, resulting in a lost engine. The aircraft was carrying 157 passengers and eight crew, and miraculously, no one was seriously injured in the landing, which went awry because of poor weather. Manila airport has been largely closed due to the incident, causing serious problems for air traffic into the Philippine capital.
Xiamen Flight 8667 from Xiamen, China (XMN) to Manila (MNL), landed on the second attempt after an initial go-around during a downpour. According to Philippine officials, the aircraft lost contact with the tower as it rolled off the runway.
During its near-disastrous landing, one of the aircraft's engines ripped off. Once the aircraft came to a stop in a rain-soaked field, passengers exited via emergency slides.
Manila Airport General Manager Ed Monreal and other officials said that passengers — many of whom were both shaken from the experience and drenched from the rain — were taken to an airport terminal. There, they were given blankets and food before being taken to a nearby hotel.
"With God's blessing, all passengers and the crew were able to evacuate safely and no injuries except for about four who had some superficial scratches," Monreal said.
Jim Sydiongco, the director-general of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines, told reporters that when the pilots tried to land the aircraft on its first attempt, their view of the runway could have been hindered by poor visibility. Investigators have retrieved the plane's flight data recorder and will obtain the cockpit voice recorder once the aircraft has been lifted. Then, investigators hope to determine the cause of the accident.
MNL airport will remain mostly closed until Saturday morning local time while the 8-year old 737 is removed by emergency crews using a crane. A smaller runway will remain open during that time for domestic flights. According to USA Today, nearly 80 international and domestic flights have been canceled or diverted because of the airport being mostly closed.
A representative for Xiamen said that the airline will send another aircraft to MNL to continue operations in the place of the 737 involved in the incident. The Civil Aviation of China also said that it would be sending a team to help in the investigation.
The incident comes just a couple weeks after another jetliner crashed in Mexico. Aeromexico Flight 2431 crashed into the ground just after takeoff from Durango (DGO). Amazingly, like this Xiamen incident, no fatalities were reported.