An Airbus A320 flown by Asiana Airlines from Seoul ran out of runway soon after landing at Hiroshima Airport on Tuesday, the transport ministry and the Hiroshima prefectural government said.
All of the 74 passengers and eight crew members on board the South Korean airline’s Flight 162 left the aircraft by using an escape chute. The authorities said 22 people sustained minor injuries.
The wheel of the aircraft may have struck a wireless communication facility near the runway when it landed from the eastern side of the airport just after 8 p.m., a transport ministry official said.
The aircraft ran halfway through the runway but later skidded off to the left, turning it around in the opposite direction, airport officials said.
The about 6.4-meter high wireless communication facility, located about 300 meters away from an edge of the runway, was found damaged. The aircraft’s left wing and left engine were damaged while scratches were seen on the aircraft’s tail.
What appears to be an antenna from the wireless facility was stuck in the wheel close to the left wing base, the authorities said.
The plane “rocked before landing and it bounced when it touched down,” a passenger said. “We saw a fire coming out of an engine and smoke entered the aircraft.”
According to the local meteorological observatory, it was foggy and mildly raining near the airport.
Hiroshima Airport closed its runway to flights shortly after 8 p.m., making two of the five flights heading to the airport return to where they departed from while the other three were diverted to other airports.
The Japan Transport Safety Board will dispatch three investigators to the airport Wednesday, while South Korea’s transport ministry said it will send eight investigators there and two officials to Asiana Airlines to look into the incident.
Japanese police are investigating the incident by setting up an emergency response team.
The plane left Incheon airport near Seoul at around 6:30 p.m. for Hiroshima Airport, located in Mihara, Hiroshima Prefecture.
An Asiana Airlines Boeing 777 crashed in San Francisco in July 2013 when it was approaching the airport for landing. Three passengers were killed. U.S. transport authorities said the crew may have been too dependent on autopilot.