Zest Air plane skids off Kalibo airport runway

by Kathlyn dela Cruz, ABS-CBNnews.com

Posted at Dec 19 2013 04:50 PM | Updated as of Dec 20 2013 04:05 AM

MANILA (3rd UPDATE) -- A Zest Air plane skidded off the runway of the Kalibo International Airport in Aklan on Thursday afternoon, the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) Aviation Security Group said.

According to Chief Supt. Christopher Laxa, director of the PNP Aviation Security Group, the incident occurred at around 3:15 p.m.

The pilot of the Zest Air flight Z2 058 bound for Busan in South Korea reportedly miscalculated the runway during a turn prior to take-off and its front tire rolled into soft ground.

Speaking to ANC's "Top Story," CAAP deputy director general John Andrews explained that during the 180-degree turn of the Airbus A320 plane, "there was probably some miscalculation on speed or allowance" on the part of the pilot.

The aircraft has already been removed from soft ground and pulled out of the runway of the airport, he said.

All 137 passengers and 7 crew of the plane, with tail number RP PH 988, are safe.

Most of the passengers were tourists from Boracay, according to Captain Rowan Estano, head of the airport's security group.

Andrews said the plane will not be allowed to proceed with its take-off, and its pilot and crew are automatically grounded.

They are required to undergo medical examination, drug tests and proficiency checks before they can be cleared, he said.

Meanwhile, operations at the Kalibo airport have already resumed.

Andrews said the four flights which had to be diverted due to the incident -- 2 flights of Seair, and 1 flight of Cebu Pacific, and 1 AirPhil Express -- can now proceed to Kalibo.

The Zest Air, meanwhile, will send a rescue flight for the stranded passengers.

Andrews said the CAAP is conducting an investigation into what exactly caused the incident.

Authorities are also checking if the plane sustained any damage. -- With reports from Zhander Cayabyab, dzMM; Regi Adosto, ABS-CBN News Iloilo