Plane skids off runway in Japan; about 20 injured

AP News
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Posted: Apr 14, 2015 11:35 AM
Plane skids off runway in Japan; about 20 injured

TOKYO (AP) — An Asiana Airlines plane skidded off a runway Tuesday after landing in western Japan, and about 20 people received minor injuries, officials said.

Hiroshima airport reported that the aircraft's tail touched the runway while landing, causing some sparks, but there were no flames, the Mihara City fire department said.

The airport was closed after the accident for an investigation.

Officials found damage to a wireless communication facility near the runway, suggesting the Airbus 320 may have touched it before landing, Transport Ministry official Shunichiro Sasaki said. He said the plane's left wing and left engine were also damaged.

An object believed to be an antenna from the communication facility was found caught in the plane's left landing gear, Kyodo News reported, quoting the Transport Ministry.

Officials said Asiana Flight 162 was carrying 74 passengers and eight crewmembers from Incheon airport in South Korea.

Fire department official Kyoichi Utsumi said about 20 people received minor injuries — mostly bruises and scratches — and no one was hurt seriously. All were evacuated using escape chutes, and it was not immediately clear if they were injured during the landing or the evacuation. Transport officials said 18 of the injured people were taken to nearby hospitals for treatment.

TV video showed the escape chutes hanging from the aircraft, with several fire engines standing by as a precaution.

Passengers interviewed by Japanese media described a tense evacuation.

Kyodo quoted an unidentified passenger as saying that the plane bounced when it touched down, then skidded off the runway and stopped on the grass. It said another passenger described seeing flames in the engine. NHK quoted a passenger as saying smoke entered the cabin before the evacuation.

An Asiana Airlines Boeing 777 crashed two years ago as it approached San Francisco's airport in an accident that killed three teenagers and injured nearly 200 others. U.S. safety investigators said the pilots bungled the landing approach by inadvertently deactivating the plane's key control for airspeed, among other errors.