A Turkish Airlines jet carrying 224 people skids upon landing in Kathmandu
Pictures show passengers using slides to get off the Airbus A330 amid heavy fog
International flights are called off because there's no way to move the commercial jetliner
A Turkish Airlines jet carrying 224 people skidded off a runway Wednesday morning at Kathmandu’s airport, forcing those on board to evacuate and effectively shutting down Nepal’s lone international airport, authorities said.
The Airbus A330’s crew first tried landing the plane around 7 a.m. Wednesday (8:30 p.m. ET Tuesday), getting very close to a runway but not touching down, according to passenger Deepak Malhotra. That was followed by an announcement that the aircraft couldn’t land due to poor visibility.
About 45 minutes later, though, the crew tried again.
This time, the Turkish Airlines plane did get on the ground but it didn’t stay on the runway, according to airport officials. The aircraft skidded off, screeching to a stop with its nose pitched down.
Pictures showed passengers and crew going down evacuation slides and walking through heavy fog.
Despite the rough landing, there were no reports of serious injuries, according to a Turkish Airlines spokesman.
Still, the incident did manage to knock out air travel in and out of the Tribhuvan International Airport, the only way in for foreigners wanting to explore Mount Everest and other nearby peaks in the Himalayan Mountains.
That’s because part of the now-immobile Airbus A330 was covering a section of the runway.
Nepal doesn’t have the heavy-duty machinery required to move it, said Ratish Chandra Lal Suman, the head of the mountainous Asian nation’s Civil Aviation Authority. And large cargo planes that could be brought in to help with the job have nowhere to land now.
Having them land anywhere else in Nepal isn’t an option either. Instead, authorities are exploring possibly flying in needed equipment to India and then driving it over to Nepal.
Until then, all international flights into Kathmandu have been called off until further notice. That includes 40 arriving and 40 departing flights canceled Wednesday.
Journalist Manesh Shrestha reported from Kathmandu, CNN’s Sugam Pokharel reported from India and CNN’s Greg Botelho wrote this story from Atlanta.