CAAP exec: Korean aircraft sent distress call for problematic touchdown before landing
LAPU-LAPU CITY, Philippines — A distress call was already communicated before the landing of Korean Air flight KE631 on Sunday evening, Oct. 23, 2022.
This was clarified by Florentino Galan Jr., air traffic management officer III of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP).
Galan said that the distress assistance was communicated to them from the approach control office in Manila after the aircraft experienced a problematic touchdown which resulted in a runway overrun crashing to the approach lights beyond the threshold of runway 04.
The problematic touchdown was caused by bad weather due to heavy rains and thunderstorms.
The incident resulted in major damage to the cockpit and nose of the aircraft.
“Nagdeclare og distress assistance sa laing opisina ang post control service which is also the air traffic service facility. After that, the air pesonnel from the across the office told us that the aircraft needed assistance and then after certifying the report, we initiated the procedure for emergecy while the aircraft naa pa sa ilang position,” Galan said.
(The aircraft declared a distress assistance from the other office, the post control service, which is also the air traffic service facility. After that, the air personnel from across the office told us that the aircraft needed assistance, and then after certifying the report, we initiated the procedure for emergency while the aircraft was still in their position.)
Emergency personnel in place
Galan said that even before the aircraft entered their area of jurisdiction, their emergency personnel were already in place.
He also said that even if they already placed the airport on lightning alert level 1 due to a thunderstorm, he evaluated that the aircraft was still safe to land in the airport.
The diversion of the flight was not also recommended during that time for the arriving aircraft.
“There are two flights ahead of them (that) landed,” he added, adding that the first two aircraft had landed safely before the Korean Air flight KE631.
Currently, the CAAP-Aircraft Accident Investigation and Inquiry Board (AAIIB) is now investigating the incident to determine its cause.
Pending the investigation, MCIAA Assistant General Manager Glenn Napuli said that their utmost priority now would be the removal of the aircraft for the resumption of their operation and the partial opening of the runway to allow the departure of smaller aircraft.
However, arriving aircraft will still not be allowed to land in the airport until the aircraft of Korean Air will be removed completely from the runway.
Mactan airport runway is 3.3 kilometers. However, with the aircraft still on the runway’s end, it is agreed that the runway will be shortened to 2.56 km.
“So number one question, what we do with the aircraft? Right now, (we are) doing all the necessary means to take out this aircraft from this area. We will move it about 30 meters away from the threshold of the runway,” Lawyer Napuli said.
As preparation, MCIA is now defueling the aircraft, and cranes were set up to give way for its removal.
MCIA is targeting to complete the removal of the aircraft before midnight tomorrow so that they can also resume their operations.
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