A Boeing-made DHL cargo plane broke in half after sliding off the runway during an emergency landing at Juan Santamaria Airport in San Jose, Costa Rica on Thursday. Multiple videos capturing the incident went viral on social media afterward.
ABC10 reported that shortly after the Boeing 757 DHL cargo jet departed Juan Santamaria Airport, the crew detected hydraulic system failures and decided to return to the airport. According to Luis Miranda, deputy director of civil aviation for Costa Rica, the cargo plane had only traveled about 35 miles on its way to Guatemala City when the crew identified system failures.
Hector Chaves, Costa Rica Fire Department director, said the aircraft skidded during its landing before turning and breaking into two pieces.
“A cargo plane broke in half during an emergency landing in Costa Rica on Thursday,” Euronews Travel tweeted with video showing the aircraft broken in two. “The incident happened when the plane was forced to return 25 minutes after takeoff for an emergency landing due to a mechanical failure.”
“Units mobilized 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 DHL spokesman said neither pilot was harmed during the incident, but one was receiving precautionary medical attention.
A Twitter user posted another angle of the aircraft before it crashed.
Airport administration officials said the accident forced the airport to close until later that evening, with multiple flights diverted to Daniel Oduber International Airport in Liberia, roughly 120 miles north of San Jose.
Daniel McGrath, a DHL spokesman, said the company and airport authorities were working to move the plane to prevent additional delays.
“Juan Santamaría International Airport (AIJS) will resume operations as of 15:30 local time, both incoming and outgoing flights. AERIS, manager of the airport, worked quickly in coordination with the respective authorities to address this morning’s emergency and facilitate the opening, as well as service conditions for airlines and passengers,” the airport said in a statement. “Passengers are advised to contact the respective airline for flight rescheduling.”
Claus Korfmacher, a spokesman for DHL, said the company is conducting an investigation of the incident.
“DHL’s incident response team has been activated and an investigation will be conducted with the relevant authorities to determine what happened,” he said, according to The New York Times.