Adam Air Plane Bends on Landing

JAKARTA ~ An Adam Air plane severely bent its fuselage in a hard landing on Wednesday that forced the temporary closure of one of the country’s busiest airports, but all passengers were reported to be safe.

Television pictures showed the stricken Boeing 737-300 with its rear section bent downwards just behind the wing with what appeared to be a massive vertical split in the fuselage.

Juanda International airport, in the second largest city of Surabaya, was shut after the plane arriving from Jakarta landed and halted suddenly in the middle of the runway.

“A few minutes before landing it was reported that the plane received wind pressure from above, or what we call a down draft,” Adam Air safety and security director Hartono told MetroTV.

“The pilot tried to recover (control of the plane) but it was too close to the runway and caused the plane to land a bit harder than usual,” he said.

Airport spokesman Edmundus Priyono said on ElShinta radio the landing appeared to be smooth “but the plane suddenly stopped in the middle of the runway; the plane’s body was bent … to the front of the wings.”

Adam Air commercial director Gugi Pringwa Saputra told ElShinta the passengers had to be evacuated in the middle of the runway. The number of passengers on board was not immediately available.

Saputra said he had not received information on what caused the incident. The plane was towed to a hangar.

Priyono said the airport was closed for 30 minutes and was operating normally again at 4pm.

Four flights were delayed as a result of the closure, he said.

National Transport Commission chairman Setio Rahardjo said he had received reports of the incident and would send a team to investigate.

Indonesia’s flight safety record has come under renewed scrutiny since an Adam Air Boeing 737-400 with 102 people on board crashed into the sea off the island of Sulawesi on New Year’s Day with no survivors.

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