FUKUOKA – Two tires on a Peach Aviation plane blew upon landing at Fukuoka Airport on Saturday morning, stranding the aircraft and closing the runway for over two hours.
There were no injuries to the 159 passengers and six crew members aboard the Airbus A320, but the transport ministry decided to treat the case as a “serious incident” after confirming damage to the nose gear as well.
The plane became unable to move on its own after the tires on its nose gear blew when the plane landed at around 8:10 a.m., according to the ministry.
A total of 81 domestic flights and one international flight were canceled as a result, while 22 flights were forced to divert to other airports in Saga and Nagasaki prefectures, as well as Busan in South Korea.
The Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry confirmed damage to a steering device used to change the direction of the nose gear’s wheels, it said.
The ministry’s safety board has decided to dispatch three officials to the site to investigate the aircraft and interview people involved in the incident from Sunday.
According to Peach Aviation, no abnormalities in the tires were found when the aircraft was checked before departing Kansai airport.
“We sincerely offer apologies. We will cooperate fully with the investigation by the Japan Transport Safety Board, while the company will work as one to recover trust,” it said.
The passengers were taken to a terminal building some 90 minutes after the incident.
“I didn’t feel a big impact. I couldn’t see what was going on outside so I felt uneasy about having to wait inside the plane,” a fatigued 62-year-old man said at a packed Fukuoka Airport after the accident.