MIRI: A light passenger aircraft slid into a drain after skidding off the short take-off and landing airport (STOLport) in Long Seridan during takeoff here this morning.
The DHC-6 Twin Otter aircraft, belonging to Malaysia Airlines’ subsidiary MASWings, crashed shortly after it landed at the airport from Marudi at around 10.02am, said Transport Minister Datuk Lee Kim Shin who was notified by officers Malaysia Airport Berhad (MASB) Miri office.
The pilot, co-pilot and all two passengers travelling aboard flight MH3622 were unhurt in the incident, which partly damaged the aircraft, said Lee.
“I have personally contacted MASWings chief executive officer Aminuddin Zakaria and he said that investigation into the incident by MASWings is ongoing. I was also told that all passengers onboard including the pilot and co-pilot were safe with no injuries reported.
“The aircraft skidded along the runway which was reported to have been wet after it rained this morning,” said Lee when contacted.
Meanwhile, Mulu assemblyman Dato Gerawat Gala said that he was informed by the Marudi police and Penghulu Willy Wing of Long Seridan about the incident.
“Thank God the passengers and both pilots are safe with no injuries,” said Gerawat.
“I hope MASWings will make a thorough investigation into the incident and inform the public of its findings as the public and passengers of MASWings are concerned and need assurance about their safety.
“The investigation should also focus on how to avoid similar incidents in the future since there had been similar incidents involving MASWings Twin Otter planes in Marudi and Bario runways previously,” said Gerawat when contacted.
Gerawat appealed to the public not to speculate on the cause of the incident and to wait for the findings of the investigation by MASWings and the Department of Civil Aviation.
“I hope MASWings will be able to plan and maintain their regular flight schedule to the rural STOLports even with this plane out of service.
“MASWings through their Rural Air Service has been providing connectivity and a very reliable and essential economic lifeline for our rural population. This has been much appreciated by our rural communities,” he said.
“I wish to appeal to Malaysia Airport Berhad and the Ministry of Transport to upgrade the rural STOLports in Bario, Long Seridan, Long Banga, Long Lellang, Mulu National Park, Ba Kelalan and Long Akah for the safety and comfort of our rural passengers.
“It may be time to upgrade and extend some of these runways,” he added.
Meanwhile, in a statement to the media, MASWings confirmed the incident and said it was working closely with the relevant authorities in the ongoing investigation.