7 passengers injured as plane veers off runway at Fuzhou

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A transporter removes a damaged plane from a runway at Fuzhou Changle International Airport. Joyair flight JR1529 veered off the runway as it landed in Fuzhou, capital of southeast China’s Fujian Province, yesterday. [photo / Xinhua]

Seven passengers were injured when an aircraft veered off the runway as it landed in Fuzhou, capital of southeast China's Fujian Province, yesterday.

Joyair flight JR1529 had 45 passengers and seven crew on board and the accident, which happened around noon, led to the temporary closure of the Fuzhou Changle International Airport.

Joyair said everyone had been evacuated safely and seven passengers were taken to hospital. It gave no details of the injuries but by last night five had been discharged while two others were continuing to have treatment.

The airline said an investigation was underway and added: "We are deeply sorry for the accident."

The plane had overshot the runway by about 70 meters, China Central TV reported.

It said the cause might have been broken landing gear which resulted in two propellers making contact with the ground. A passenger surnamed Jiang told the Fuzhou Evening News that the cabin had been filled with smoke and luggage had fallen from the overhead compartments, hitting some passengers.

Another passenger surnamed Zhang told the Fuzhou Daily: "I heard a bang after the plane landed and then I lost consciousness. When I woke up, I found I was stuck between two seats. I managed to push the seat away and run to the exit. There, I saw the crew members were evacuating us."

The airport said the plane, a China-built Modern Ark 60 (MA60), had taken off from Hefei, capital of east China's Anhui Province, and was due to land in Fuzhou at 12:10pm.

The incident led to some 80 flights being delayed by 5pm, affecting more than 4,000 passengers at the airport. Operations resumed at 6pm, Fujian Radio reported.

The 60-seater MA60 is a propeller-driven aircraft developed and made by the state-run Xi'an Aircraft Industry Group Company Ltd.

By the end of last year, there had been 210 orders for the aircraft at home and abroad. In China, Joyair and Okay Airways are its two major customers.

Landing gear problems have been a challenge for the MA60 in recent years.

In February last year, the nose of a Joyair MA60 hit the runway at Xinzheng International Airport in Zhengzhou, capital of central Henan Province.

The aircraft was taxiing after landing when its landing gear failed.

About two weeks later, an Okay Airways MA60 circled for more than two hours before landing after instruments indicated the landing gear had not descended over northeast China's Liaoning Province.

No one was hurt in either incident, officials said.

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