An airport in Costa Rica was forced to close after a cargo aeroplane made an emergency landing and split in half.
The Juan Santamaria International Airport was forced to halt operations when the incident took place at 10am local time on Thursday (7 April), as a Boeing 757-200 cargo aircraft operated by DHL came in to land.
The aircraft had set off for Guatemala when it had a failure in the hydraulic system, said Luis Miranda Munoz, deputy director of Costa Rica's civil aviation authority, prompting the pilot to request an emergency landing and turn back after just one hour.
Images show the yellow plane emblazoned with a DHL logo being doused down by firefighters after it skidded off the runway during landing and landed on a patch of grass. The tail detached from the plane as it returned to the ground, and a wing also broke as a result.
DHL, which is owned by Deutsche Post AG, assured the crew was unharmed in the landing and said one member was undergoing a medical review as a precaution. Guido Vasquez, a Red Cross worker, said the pilot of the plane was 'shaken up', but assured the crew members were conscious and 'remember everything vividly', according to France 24.
Juan Santamaria airport closed for several hours in the aftermath of the dramatic landing, with airport operator Aeirs saying approximately 8,500 passengers and 57 commercial and cargo flights were affected by the delays. It ended up reopening at 3:30pm local time, hours earlier than the original estimated reopening time of 6pm.
DHL and airport authorities worked together after the landing to move the aircraft, though they assured the plane was no longer affecting operations.
In a statement cited by the Associated Press, DHL said: "DHL's incident response team has been activated and an investigation will be conducted with the relevant authorities to determine what happened."
The plane was being operated by the company’s subsidiary Aero Expreso at the time of the incident.
Héctor Chaves, director of the Costa Rica Fire Department, said the aircraft broke in two after skidding and turning 180 degrees upon landing, The Independent reports.
"Units mobilised to remove the pilot and co-pilot. 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," Chaves said.
Aeris originally estimated the closures would impact three cargo flights and 32 commercial flights to and from the United States, Central America, Mexico, Canada and Europe.Featured Image Credit: Costa Rica Fire Department/Getty