KATHMANDU: Nepal's only international airport here was on Friday temporarily shut down after a domestic flight with 66 passengers on board skidded off the runway while landing, injuring two passengers, officials said.
The incident happened at 11.05 am when the Yeti airline's flight NYT-422 from Nepalgunj to Kathmandu skidded off the recently repaired runway at the Tribhuvan International Airport after it became slippery due to the continuous downpour since morning.
"The aircraft skidded 20 metres off the runway and landed at nearby grassland," a senior official said.
"We regret to inform you that Yeti Airlines Flight Number NYT-422 (9N-AMM) was involved in a runway excursion incident at KathmanduAirport at 11:05 Am today. All 66 passengers (64 adult and 2 infant) and 3 Flight Crew members onboard are safe and have been evacuated," the Yeti airlines said in a tweet.
According to the airport authorities, the work to remove the ATR 72-500 from the runway was underway and the airport is shut until 5 pm.
We regret to inform you that Yeti Airlines Flight Number NYT-422 (9N-AMM) was involved in a runway excursion incident at KathmanduAirport at 11:05 Am today . All 66 passengers ( 64 adult and 2 infant) and 3 Flight Crew members onboard are safe and have been evacuated.— Yeti Airlines (@FlyYeti) July 12, 2019
"Efforts are still underway to remove the aircraft of Yeti Airline from the area and clear the runway for regular flight operations. Many technical precautions need to be taken to remove the aircraft and that all available resources were being used to get the task done," the Himalayan Times quoted Rajan Pokjhrel, a senior airport official, as saying.
During the incident two of the passengers sustained minor injuries, the official said.
“ We would like to reiterate that all passengers and crew are safe and have not suffered any injuries due to the runway excursion.— Yeti Airlines (@FlyYeti) July 12, 2019
In a similar incident, authorities took 11 hours to remove a domestic aircraft that suffered a similar runway excursion in September last year, months after a Malaysian jet with 139 people on board had aborted its takeoff and skidded off the runway, according to media reports.
In March 2018, a US-Bangla Airlines aircraft crashed and burst into flames while landing at the TIA, killing more than 50 people.