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PAL plane overshoots runway in Tacloban

TACLOBAN CITY – The Daniel Romualdez Airport here was temporarily closed to traffic yesterday after a Philippine Airlines (PAL) plane overshot a runway. There were no injuries, company officials said.

The nose wheel of the Airbus A320 burrowed into the ground after overshooting the runway on landing at around 7:01 a.m., making it difficult to remove it from the path, PAL spokesman Rolly Estabillo said.

Estabillo and PAL field manager Glenn Vallecera said none of the 113 passengers and six crewmembers were hurt.

Flight PR 191 left Manila at around 6 a.m. The incident caused two other Manila-Tacloban-Manila flights to be cancelled, while stranding some 235 passengers from PAL and Cebu Pacific flights.

A five-member team of investigators from the Air Transportation Office (ATO) is due to arrive here today to determine the cause of the mishap.

"We are not making conclusions yet. It was an overshot landing," ATO chief Assistant Secretary Nilo Jatico told The STAR, as he noted possible causes behind the incident such as pilot error, weather factor, a combination of the two, or power trouble, among others.

Journalist Froilan Garcia of the Yomiuri Shimbun, who was seated in the business class of the Airbus 320, said the impact of the plane as it landed sounded like an explosion.

Most of the passengers, he said, were calm although some seemed in near panic.

Garcia and the paper’s bureau chief were en route to Southern Leyte. He said he was thankful that no one was hurt in the incident.

As of yesterday afternoon, PAL management was exerting all efforts to pull the plane out of the runway.

The Airbus A320s are the smallest airplane among PAL’s fleet, which are used for domestic flights. – AP, Michael Punongbayan

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