QUITO, Nov 9, 2007 (AFP) – An Iberia Airlines Airbus with 347 people on board skidded off a wet runway on landing Friday at Quito’s Mariscal Sucre airport, causing some damage but no injuries and shutting the airport down for two days, officials said.
“The plane ran off the end of the runway due to a pilot manoeuvre, suffering some damage to its landing gear and one of its wings, (but) there were no personal tragedies to speak of,” said airport director Diego Pachel. Air Transport undersecretary Guillermo Bernal said the Airbus A340-600 was on a Madrid-Quito-Guayaquil-Madrid route and landed in Quito during a drizzle.
Some passengers said they saw a tire blow out as the plane touched down and smoke billowing from one of the engines. The damaged airliner remained parked at the end of the runway where it came to a halt while the incident was under investigation.
The airport will be closed for two days and all flights diverted to Guayaquil, 275 kilometres (170 miles) southeast of Quito, airport authorities said.