Costa Rica airport reopens after DHL plane skids off runway during emergency landing

(Reuters) — Costa Rica’s Juan Santamaria International Airport reopened Thursday hours after a Boeing 757-200 cargo plane operated by DHL made an emergency landing and skidded off the runway, separating its tail, authorities said of aviation.

Airport operator Aeris said the airport, on the outskirts of the capital San Jose, reopened at 3:30 p.m. local time, several hours earlier than expected, following the 10:00 a.m. incident.

Some 8,500 passengers and 57 commercial and cargo flights were affected by the closure, Aeris said.

DHL, part of Deutsche Post AG, said the crew was unharmed and one member was undergoing a medical examination as a precaution.

Footage from Costa Rican newspaper La Nacion showed a yellow plane emblazoned with the DHL logo covered in fire-fighting foam where it landed on a grassy field next to a runway. The tail had detached and a wing had broken, the photos show it.

The plane was bound for Guatemala when it apparently had a hydraulic system failure, said Luis Miranda Munoz, deputy director of Costa Rica’s civil aviation authority. The issue prompted the pilot to request an emergency landing shortly after takeoff, he said.

A Boeing spokeswoman said she would refer questions to investigating authorities.

DHL and airport authorities said they were working together to move the plane, although they said it would not affect operations.

“DHL’s Incident Response Team has been activated and an investigation will be conducted with the relevant authorities to determine what happened,” DHL said.

Aeris originally estimated the airport would remain closed until 6 p.m. local time, which would have impacted three cargo flights and 32 commercial flights to and from the United States, Central America , Mexico, Canada and Europe.

Top image: Firefighters are working at the scene where a Boeing 757-200 cargo plane operated by DHL made an emergency landing before skidding off the runway and splitting apart, aviation authorities said. Juan Santamaria International Airport in Alajuela, Costa Rica on April 7, 2022 Credit: Mayela Lopez/Reuters