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18 survive crash-landing in Lawas

Posted on August 25, 2011, Thursday

LUCKY ESCAPE: The aircraft lands just 5 metres short of the river at the end of the runway.

LAWAS: The front landing gear of a MASwings Twin Otter (DHC6) aircraft broke off upon landing at Lawas Airport about 3.30pm yesterday.

All 16 passengers and two crew – pilot and co-pilot – were lucky to escape unscathed as their aircraft skidded to a stop a short distance from the river at the end of the runway.

According to one of the passengers, the plane stopped just 5metres short of the river.

Fine weather was reported at the time of the incident.

The MH3516 aircraft, belonging to Malaysia Airlines’ subsidiary MASwings took off from Miri Airport at 2.45pm.

MASwings ,in a statement emailed from Kuching yesterday evening, said that following the incident, the Lawas terminal was temporarily closed to traffic to facilitate investigation.

“The aircraft is being guarded by MAB airport security and police.

MASwings meanwhile is sending an investigation and recovery team from Kota Kinabalu by land to remove the aircraft from the site. For the time being, Lawas Airport is closed for all flight operations until the airfield is cleared,” the statement added.

It said the airline would extend its full co-operation to the Department of Civil Aviation which is investigating the incident. This is an isolated incident and that safety remains a high priority in the company.

MASWings makes six flights daily from Miri. In a week it makes 17 flights to Lawas from Miri, three from Ba Kelalan and one from Kota Kinabalu.

The 19-seater Twin Otter aircraft is one of four used by MASWings for its rural air services (RAS) in Sarawak.

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