Tue | Dec 18, 2018

Plane skids off rainy Manila runway, rips off engine, wheel

Published:Friday | August 17, 2018 | 9:47 AM
Xiamen Air, a Boeing passenger plane from China, sits on the grassy portion of the runway of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport after it skidded off the runway while landing Friday, August 17, 2018 in suburban Pasay city southeast of Manila, Philippines. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Passengers of a plane from China that veered off a runway at Manila’s airport and lost an engine and a wheel after landing hard in a rainstorm recalled Friday their brush with the terrifying mishap, with some of the 165 people on board expecting the worst.

The Boeing 737-800, carrying 157 passengers and eight crew from China’s coastal city of Xiamen, managed to touch down close to midnight amid a downpour after aborting an initial attempt to land due to poor visibility, according to Philippine officials, who expressed relief that a disaster was avoided.

The airliner lost contact with the tower as it rolled off the runway into a rain-soaked field, where one of the plane’s engines and wheels got ripped off before everyone onboard scrambled out through an emergency slide, the officials said.

A Filipino-American from California, Ruben Lopez Espinas, thought the plane would crash.

“I surrendered myself. I said, ‘Lord, I am yours if it’s really my time,’” he said.

Chinese passenger Wang Xun Qun embraced her teen daughter during the tense moments before the aircraft landed. When asked to describe their experience, the two repeatedly said, “Scary, scary.”

Chen Lei, who was on the plane with friends, said the plane touched down but pulled up steeply in a 90-degree angle a few seconds after it aborted the first landing. “My palm started to sweat,” he said.

When it did land, the plane glided for about five seconds then the wing and the engine under it hit the ground, with Chen witnessing the unfolding danger from a window.

“The luggage fell down and many equipment inside the plane started to fall. I also smelled heavy smoke,” he said.

Then the plane suddenly came to an abrupt stop.

Shaken by the experience and drenched by the downpour, the passengers and crew of Xiamen Air Flight 8667 were taken to an airport terminal, where they were given blankets and food before going to a hotel, airport general manager Ed Monreal and other officials said.

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