DHL Jet Splits in Half in Costa Rica

A DHL cargo plane slid off a runway, splitting in half on Thursday morning during an emergency landing in Costa Rica, temporarily shutting down an airport.

Fire department officials said the pilots decided to return when they detected a failure in the hydraulic system of the Boeing 757-200 after the plane took off from the Juan Santamaría international airport just west of the capital San Jose.

Costa Rica Civil Aviation Deputy Director Luis Miranda said the plane had gone only about 55 kilometers from the airport when it requested permission to turn back from its planned flight to Guatemala City.

Miranda said the pilot and co-pilot were the only crew members aboard the plane, carrying only about two and a half hours’ worth of fuel.

Héctor Chaves, Fire department Director, said as the plane attempted to land, it skidded, turned, and broke in two, exposing its cargo.

“Units mobilized to remove the pilot and co-pilot,” Chaves said.

DHL spokesperson said both pilots were unharmed, but one underwent a medical check as a precaution.

Airport operator Aeris said the incident closed the airport for several hours, with some 8,500 passengers and 57 commercial and cargo flights affected.

Meanwhile, DHL and airport authorities said they were working together to move the aircraft.

“An investigation will be conducted with the relevant authorities to determine what happened,” DHL added.


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