Saint Joseph A DHL cargo plane skidded on the runway of the most important airport in Costa Rica and slid into two, causing the entire terminal to shut down.
As detailed Thursday by the fire department, just before 10 a.m. an alert was received from a plane that took off from Juan Santamaria International Airport (15 kilometers west of San Jose) but decided to turn back when a hydraulic system malfunction was discovered.
Hector Chavez, director of the Costa Rican Fire Department, commented that when the plane landed in the southern sector of the airport about 30 minutes later, the plane skidded, made a turn, and finally split the fuselage in two, exposing its payload. “The units were filled to get the pilot and co-pilot out. Next, foam was applied to prevent any spillage, and an earthen dam is now being worked on to prevent spilled fuel from reaching the sewage system,” Chaves commented.
According to the deputy director of civil aviation, Luis Miranda, the cargo plane was heading to La Aurora Airport in Guatemala City. Its crew consists of only two people, a payload and two and a half hours of fuel on board. The plane had only traveled 35 miles from the Costa Rica airport when it asked for permission to return.
The fire chief explained that the Costa Rican Oil Refinery (Recop) will extract the remaining fuel in the aircraft’s wings.
It was reported that both the pilot and his co-pilot are in good health, while the fire department indicated that the cargo had not moved from its place despite the impact, and that work was underway on an inventory to determine if there were dangerous materials inside.
Chaves also commented that as soon as the plane crashed, it was possible to observe a blue liquid spill corresponding to the hydraulic system, without which the plane loses the ability to use the brakes and ailerons.
The airport operator confirmed that the situation will lead to the closure of entry and exit of aircraft until at least six in the afternoon, which will divert at least 32 flights from North, Central and South America. Some of these flights will be diverted to Daniel Oduber International Airport in Liberia City (200 km northwest of San Jose), but since it is a small airport, it will not be able to handle all the diverted flights, which it also will not be able to handle. They are sent to Panama and Guatemala or returned to their original destinations.
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