Cargo jet splits in half in Costa Rica


A DHL cargo jet has slid off the runway and broken in half while landing at Costa Rica’s international airport in San Jose, shutting down the airport, but not injuring crew.

The fire department said the Boeing 757 had taken off from Juan Santamaría Airport just west of the capital on Thursday, but decided to return after detecting a failure in the hydraulic system.

Hector Chaves, director the Costa Rica Fire Department, said that upon landing the aircraft skidded, turned and broke in two, exposing its cargo.

“Units mobilised to remove the pilot and co-pilot,” Chaves said. 

“Then they applied foam to prevent a spill and now they are working on an earthen dike to avoid any fuel from reaching the drainage system.”

A spokesman for cargo carrier DHL said both pilots were unharmed but one was being undergoing a medical check as a precaution.

DHL spokesman Daniel McGrath said the company was working with airport authorities to move the plane so flights could resume. 

Luis Miranda, deputy director of civil aviation for Costa Rica, said the pilot and co-pilot were the only crew members aboard the plane, which was carrying only about two-and-a-half hours worth of fuel. .

The airport administration said the crash would keep the airport closed to incoming and outgoing flights for several hours.


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