Dramatic Video Shows DHL Freight Jet Skid Off Runaway In Costa Rica, Splitting In Two

A DHL cargo plane skidded off the runway and broke in two while landing at Costa Rica’s San Jose International Airport on Thursday, closing the airport but not hurting the crew. A dramatic video of the incident shows the runway plan veering off and breaking in two, creating a dark plume of smoke.

Firefighters said the Boeing 757 had taken off from Juan Santamaría Airport just west of the capital, but decided to turn back after detecting a hydraulic system failure.

Héctor Chaves, director of the Costa Rican fire service, said the plane skidded, twisted and broke in two on landing, exposing the payload.

“Units mobilized to remove the pilot and co-pilot,” Chaves said. “Then they applied foam to prevent spillage and now they are working on an earthen embankment to prevent fuel from entering the drainage system.”

Costa Rica Split Plane
A cargo plane ejected and wrecked on the runway in Costa Rica on Thursday, April 7, 2022.

Carlos Gonzalez / AP


A spokesman for freight forwarder DHL said both pilots were not injured.

But AFP reported that the Guatemalan couple was sent to hospital as a precaution “for a medical check-up,” said Guido Vasquez, a Red Cross official.

The pilot was shaken, but both crew members were conscious and “remembered everything vividly,” Vasquez added.

DHL spokesman Daniel McGrath said the company is working with airport authorities to move the plane so that flights can resume. He said an investigation will be launched to determine the cause of the incident.

DHL is a subsidiary of Deutsche Post DHL Group.

Luis Miranda, deputy director of civil aviation for Costa Rica, said the plane had departed only about 35 miles from the airport when it requested permission to return from its scheduled flight to Guatemala City. He said the pilot and copilot were the only crew on board the plane, which only had about 2½ hours of fuel on board.

The accident caused operations at the country’s largest airport to be halted until about 5:30 p.m., affecting hundreds of flights and more than 8,000 passengers, AFP reported.

Operations are now back to normal, “both for arrivals and departures,” said Ricardo Hernandez, general manager of Aeris, the public company that manages the airport.

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