After its front wheel exploded on the runway, a Turkish Airlines flight skidded off of the slippery tarmac in Kathmandu Wednesday morning and nose-dived into the grass. None of the 238 people aboard suffered serious injury, but the crash landing did damage the Airbus 330 and closed Nepal’s international airport. According to the officials, some passengers suffered bumps and bruises from the impact but only one person required hospital attention.
Two days of heavy rain had left the tarmac slick. After making the seven-hour journey from Istanbul, the plane circled in a dense fog above the Nepalese capital for thirty minutes and made an aborted first approach at the runway. On its second landing attempt, the plane careened off the runway.
Passenger Dikesh Malhotra told NBC News that the pilots were trying to land in “extremely low” visibility:
"It was just going around in circles,” he said. “We knew the runway was close but we couldn't see anything."
According to Malhotra, the passengers could tell that the pilots were having trouble bringing the plane down.
“We knew it wasn't the runway when it landed," he said.
Photos of the plane show those on board evacuating and running from the plane in thick fog.
Chaos reigned as the passengers disembarked from the lopsided plane on inflatable slides:
The Airbus 330 came to a stop balanced on its nose and one wing.
Landing a large plane at Tribhuvan International Airport in the best of conditions is no mean feat. According to a 2013 release from Airbus, the Kathmandu airport "has one of the world's most complicated landing approaches due to surrounding challenging terrain at its location in the Himalayas.”
Turkish Airlines tweeted out updates through the early morning incident to provide reassurance:
Airline spokesman Ali Genc told news organizations that the airline would conduct a crash investigation into what went wrong.
"Necessary precautions have been taken for towing the aircraft out of its current place and the relevant work on that issue have started,” Genc said in a statement.
Images: Getty Images (5)