Iranian plane overshoots runway; passengers safe

Updated January 28, 2020

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AN Iranian passenger plane sits on a road outside Mahshahr airport after skidding off the runway on Monday.—AP
AN Iranian passenger plane sits on a road outside Mahshahr airport after skidding off the runway on Monday.—AP

TEHRAN: An Iranian passenger plane overshot a runway as it landed on Monday in the southwestern city of Bandar-e-Mahshahr, barrelling into an adjacent highway without causing casualties, state TV reported.

“Arriving at Mahshahr airport, the pilot landed the aircraft too late and this caused him to miss the runway,” the broadcaster quoted the head of Khuzestan province’s aviation authority as saying.

This “caused the aircraft to overshoot the runway and stop in a boulevard” next to the airport managing Director of Khuzestan Airports Mohammad Reza Rezaei told state news agency IRNA.

The McDonnell Douglas jet, belonging to Iran’s Cas­pian Airlines, was flying from Tehran’s Mehrabad Airport with 135 passengers plus the plane’s crew. State TV reported that all were safe.

A state TV reporter travelling on the plane told the broadcaster that the aircraft’s “back wheel had broken off, as we saw it was left on the runway” and said the plane had been moving with no wheels before it ground to a halt.

Iranian media reported that the pilot was unable to deploy the landing gear, adding that the incident was being investigated.

Photographs of the aircraft show registration number EP-CPZ, a McDonnell Douglas MD-83 built in 1994.

“The plane did not catch fire and all passengers safely left the plane,” Mr Rezaei.

No major injuries were reported. The passengers calmly exited the plane from a front door and one over the wing, still with carry-on baggage in hand, according to footage posted on state-run TV’s website. The footage showed passengers being helped to the street below by people on the ground.

It seems that tragedy was narrowly avoided, however, as images from the scene showed the plane had ground to a halt not far from a populated area.

The incident comes as Iran is still coping with the aftermath of the accidental downing of a Ukrainian airliner over Tehran.

Published in Dawn, January 28th, 2020