Philippines, airplane with 173 people goes off the runway in the third landing attempt –

Philippines, airplane with 173 people goes off the runway in the third landing attempt –

Updated: 3 months, 6 days, 3 hours, 10 minutes, 46 seconds ago


Leonard Berberi

The incident at Cebu International Airport: a Korean Air Airbus A330 crossed the runway by 300 meters. No seriously injured. There were thunderstorms over the area

A Korean Air Airbus A330 with 173 people on board ended up off the track for about three hundred meters at 165 kilometers per hour Cebu International Airport, Philippines. It was on the third landing attempt. A double investigation has been opened on the accident – which led to the destruction of a significant part of the aircraft, even if the main hypothesis is bad weather. All 162 passengers and 11 crew members were unharmednet of some slight scratches, while the airport is still closed.

The journey

Korean Air Flight 631 took off from Seoul, South Korea, at 19.20 local time (12.20 in Italy) on Sunday 23 October. At around 4 pm (Italian time) the Metar (the bulletin with updated meteorological information) of the Cebu airport on the monitor of the pilots’ cabin it indicated low clouds and thunderstorm. At 16.12 (Italian time) the A330 attempted a first landing, but had to cancel the descent when it was now about forty meters above sea level. A quarter of an hour later the aircraft made a second attempt, but again had to regain altitude.

The last attempt

Thus remained a third attempt, but also the last, according to experts, because at that point the pilots have to decide whether to land permanently or divert to another airport. And so around 5 pm (still Italian time) the commander and first officer communicate to the Cebu control tower their intention to try to descend. The Airbus A330 drops around 17.08.20 seconds, but sixteen seconds later and a few meters from the end of the runway it is still traveling at 165 kilometers per hour. The jet stops about three hundred meters from the edge of the runway.

The consequences

In the impact, the lower part of the nose of the aircraft actually disintegrated. However, the passengers and crew managed to leave the aircraft. The plane, according to aeronautical records, had been delivered to Korean Air in October 1998. South Korea’s leading airline – which is part of the SkyTeam alliance and also has Delta Air Lines among its shareholders – has not recorded a fatal accident on passenger flights since 1997 according to the database of Aviation Safety Network when a Boeing 747 with 254 people on board crashed into a hill during the descent in Guam: 228 people were killed.

The reactions

Keehong Woo, president of Korean Airapologized to everyone through a message on the company’s official website e ensured a thorough investigation into the matter. Glenn Napuli, Deputy General Manager of the airport, informed the local press that the airport will be closed until midnight (6 pm Italian time on Monday 24 October) and that the authorities are working to resume flights within the day. Dozens of planes are still stuck in the airport and we try to understand how to make them take off safely while the rescuers will also have to empty the tanks of the A330 finished off the runway.