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Gonzalo
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VS A330 Damaged After Landing In Flooded Runway

Fri Dec 27, 2013 12:48 am

VS A330 G-VNYC was cleared to land in TLPL ( Saint Lucia ), in the final moments of the approach a river adjacent to the airport flooded the runway with wáter and mud, but the crew didn't notice and landed. According to the report, the aircraft touched down on the flooded runway without warning and managed to come to a stop. No injuries occurred, the landing gear however received substantial damage.

Aircraft is still on the ground in Saint Lucia.



http://avherald.com/h?article=46d97b6f&opt=0

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817Dreamliiner
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RE: VS A330 Damaged After Landing In Flooded Runway

Fri Dec 27, 2013 12:54 am

Interesting, that would explain why G-VGEM went to LGW yesterday. I also noticed earlier that G-VNYC didn't return to LGW on the 24th when I checked on fr24 earlier today. I wonder how badly damaged the gear is.

[Edited 2013-12-26 16:58:34]
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Gonzalo
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RE: VS A330 Damaged After Landing In Flooded Runway

Fri Dec 27, 2013 1:00 am

Quoting 817Dreamliiner (Reply 1):
I wonder how badly damaged the gear is.

I'm curious about that too.... and the chance of the engines ingesting some mud/small rocks while the reversers decelerated the aircraft on that runway.... Weird that no one mentioned this incident ( or accident ) before, it happened on the night of Dec. 24th and after 48 hours the aircraft is still in St. Lucia

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RE: VS A330 Damaged After Landing In Flooded Runway

Fri Dec 27, 2013 1:22 am

Quoting Gonzalo (Reply 2):
Weird that no one mentioned this incident ( or accident ) before, it happened on the night of Dec. 24th and after 48 hours the aircraft is still in St. Lucia

Indeed, When I noticed G-VGEM operating from LGW I initially assumed G-VNYC went back to LHR (the other LGW based A330 G-VWAG flew to ANU today). Im really surprised this is only now being reported...
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RE: VS A330 Damaged After Landing In Flooded Runway

Fri Dec 27, 2013 1:36 am

Looks like it was a case of just really horrible luck. It would have been dark at that hour and there would have been no way for anyone to know that it had happened. I don't see how the crew could possibly be found responsible for this.

I'm imagining that the damage has to do with the gear winding up imbedded in mud. That will seriously muck up just about any piece of machinery.
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Gonzalo
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RE: VS A330 Damaged After Landing In Flooded Runway

Fri Dec 27, 2013 1:52 am

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 4):
I don't see how the crew could possibly be found responsible for this.

Oh I agree completely. Same for the airport workers or the controller at the Tower. A wave of Brown/black water and mud moving by surprise, at night, into the runway, is probably impossible to detect. Regarding the "horrible luck", I think they were lucky, this could have a different, worst outcome, just imagine what could happens if the aircraft lands 4 or 5 minutes later, on a probably more damaged runway ).

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RE: VS A330 Damaged After Landing In Flooded Runway

Fri Dec 27, 2013 1:55 am

Quoting Gonzalo (Reply 5):
Regarding the "horrible luck", I think they were lucky, this could have a different, worst outcome, just imagine what could happens if the aircraft lands 4 or 5 minutes later, on a probably more damaged runway ).

Yes, but at that point the strip lights would have been washed out. Obviously the flood hadn't gotten too bad because the crew would have noticed that the lights had started to get washed out. So the landing was occurring as the flash flood started.
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RE: VS A330 Damaged After Landing In Flooded Runway

Fri Dec 27, 2013 2:01 am

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 6):
he crew would have noticed that the lights had started to get washed out.

They landed in heavy rain, at night.... we have some infamous accidents in the past with planes landing on the roof of other airplanes in better visibility, so i'm not so confident about the crew of this VS flight being able to see if a couple of lights are not in the right place down the runway. In any case, I'm just glad that they were able to stop in one piece and no one suffered any injuries after this.

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RE: VS A330 Damaged After Landing In Flooded Runway

Fri Dec 27, 2013 2:03 am

It really does sound as though this came about as a result of hideous coincidence of unexpected circumstances.

However, surely it should be very well understood what an airport's chance of flooding is, particularly in critical areas like the runways?? Surely if there is a risk of flooding (flash or otherwise) associated with the location and its surroundings, any weather events should be very closely monitored in order to take appropriate precautions?
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A388
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RE: VS A330 Damaged After Landing In Flooded Runway

Fri Dec 27, 2013 3:51 am

RussianJet is correct. As pet ICAO the aerodrome must have a proper drainage system in place events like this even though no one could have seen this happening. A proper drainage system should be in place so the aerodrome operator can be blamed in this case for not complying to ICAO regulations.

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RE: VS A330 Damaged After Landing In Flooded Runway

Fri Dec 27, 2013 4:40 am

Yes let it be a learning experience; At least a monitor for water over such flood-prone runways though given the timing of everything, where could the A330 been able to divert while on final, out of curiousity?
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Bongodog1964
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RE: VS A330 Damaged After Landing In Flooded Runway

Fri Dec 27, 2013 10:27 am

I'm not suprised that this took a ittle time to come to light. LGW was in total chaos on December 24th having suffered major power faIlure, many flights were cancelled with others leaving very late. Whilst it was only reported that the North terminal was affected ,and VS fly from the South terminal it strikes me as unusual for the flight to be landing at St Lucia in the dark. All the times I have flown from LGW to the Carribbean on both VS and BA we have arrived mid afternoon in sunlight. Departures however are always after nightfall. It may well be that the VS flight was delayed as a knock on effect of the disruption. Its subsequent accident was bound to be secondary news compared to U2 and BA cancelling over 50 flights from the North terminal, and no checked bags departing on any of the fligths that did get away.
 
AAMDanny
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RE: VS A330 Damaged After Landing In Flooded Runway

Fri Dec 27, 2013 10:35 am

Wow this could had been a disaster! Glad to hear everyone is ok.

Does anybody have more information on the extent of the G-VNYC's landing gear damage?

AAMDanny
 
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RE: VS A330 Damaged After Landing In Flooded Runway

Fri Dec 27, 2013 10:39 am

Quoting cal764 (Reply 10):
where could the A330 been able to divert while on final, out of curiousity?

My first guess would be BGI.
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rutankrd
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RE: VS A330 Damaged After Landing In Flooded Runway

Fri Dec 27, 2013 10:58 am

Quoting AAMDanny (Reply 12):
Wow this could had been a disaster! Glad to hear everyone is ok.

Does anybody have more information on the extent of the G-VNYC's landing gear damage?

AAMDanny

The mud and stones may have clogged and wrecked a few seals and if ingested those engines will be need inspection.

Going to be a costly and downtime repair to strip each carriage remove and reseat the various seals, degrease /remove abrasives (sand) from all moving surfaces and bearings re-pressurise etc…
Engines may need swapping out however they will first have to be inspected for FOD.

As for a potential disaster call - Hyperbole
 
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RE: VS A330 Damaged After Landing In Flooded Runway

Fri Dec 27, 2013 11:07 am

Shouldn't the runway be inspected in such occurances and NOTAMs issued...
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RickNRoll
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RE: VS A330 Damaged After Landing In Flooded Runway

Fri Dec 27, 2013 11:10 am

Quoting rutankrd (Reply 14):

As for a potential disaster call - Hyperbole

Floods often carry heavry debri.
 
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RE: VS A330 Damaged After Landing In Flooded Runway

Fri Dec 27, 2013 11:13 am

The engines should only reinvest below 50 mph. At least that's what designers told us when I used to build them. However the engines could easily pick up debris under power as they are very low on an A330. I would think its unavoidable in this case . Which engines does this bird have?
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TC957
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RE: VS A330 Damaged After Landing In Flooded Runway

Fri Dec 27, 2013 11:47 am

The aircraft landed in the dark because it was on it's way back from Tobago inbound to LGW on it's return journey.
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Bongodog1964
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RE: VS A330 Damaged After Landing In Flooded Runway

Fri Dec 27, 2013 12:12 pm

Quoting 817Dreamliiner (Reply 13):
Quoting cal764 (Reply 10):where could the A330 been able to divert while on final, out of curiousity?
My first guess would be BGI.

Lots of potential diversions all within 30 minutes, most of the larger islands have direct services from LGW and can accept up to 744.

Quoting TC957 (Reply 18):
The aircraft landed in the dark because it was on it's way back from Tobago inbound to LGW on it's return journey.

That explains the night time landing.
 
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RE: VS A330 Damaged After Landing In Flooded Runway

Fri Dec 27, 2013 1:55 pm

Quoting A388 (Reply 9):
A proper drainage system should be in place so the aerodrome operator can be blamed in this case for not complying to ICAO regulations.

A388

Airport drainage is designed to withstand with rain, maybe the heaviest rain you can have. But I don't think any airport have drainage capable to deal with a river out of control, the quantity of water can be perfectly like a tsunami, and you can remember what happened to Sendai ( Japan ) in March 2011. No drainage in the world can deal with events like this.

Quoting rutankrd (Reply 14):
As for a potential disaster call - Hyperbole

Type "Sinkhole" in YouTube, then imagine the A330 landing in poor visibility, heavy rain, at night, with two hundred souls on board, falling into a sinkhole in the runway at 70 or 80 knots during the landing roll.....Sorry, but that could be a disaster IMHO. Oh, and by the way, the very same article says : "flooded the airport reportedly washing the weather station away and setting the runway under mud and water."
Weather stations are relatively small but still we are talking about a potential risk of the aircraft colliding with things that shouldn't be on the runway.

Quoting HAWK21M (Reply 15):
Shouldn't the runway be inspected in such occurances and NOTAMs issued...

This was a "flash flood" after the river broke its banks. The time from "normal" to "flooded with water, mud and stones" could be less than one minute.

Rgds.
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A388
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RE: VS A330 Damaged After Landing In Flooded Runway

Fri Dec 27, 2013 2:26 pm

Gonzalo, I agree with you but the question is whether that drainage system indeed is sufficient. Drainage systems can overflow if it doesn't have adequate capacity as well.

A388
 
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Gonzalo
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RE: VS A330 Damaged After Landing In Flooded Runway

Fri Dec 27, 2013 2:41 pm

Quoting A388 (Reply 21):
Gonzalo, I agree with you but the question is whether that drainage system indeed is sufficient. Drainage systems can overflow if it doesn't have adequate capacity as well.

Honestly, looking at the aerial picture ( or Google Map graphic ) in the article, the designers of the airport forced the river to make a 90° turn to accomodate the runway...In a rainy place like St. Lucia, one should expect the rivers increase the level from time to time and look for a better, "more natural" solution. On the other hand, according to Wikipedia, this airport exists since the WWII era, and I couldn't find references to a previous flooding of the runway, so maybe this was an event that occurs one time every 100 years....

Rgds.

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RE: VS A330 Damaged After Landing In Flooded Runway

Fri Dec 27, 2013 2:42 pm

Quoting A388 (Reply 21):
Gonzalo, I agree with you but the question is whether that drainage system indeed is sufficient. Drainage systems can overflow if it doesn't have adequate capacity as well.

You can only plan so much for these types of things. St Lucia knows how to deal with rain, they get enough of the stuff, but a river breaking it's banks, not a lot you can do for that. I am wondering if something blocked/impeded the river down stream.
 
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RE: VS A330 Damaged After Landing In Flooded Runway

Fri Dec 27, 2013 3:01 pm

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 6):
but at that point the strip lights would have been washed out.

Maybe, maybe not. Frankly crews can't really see all the runway lights well enough to determine if some are out. On many runways - the natural elevation changes don't allow all the lights to be seen when you are very close to flare or on the runway.

Quoting HAWK21M (Reply 15):
Shouldn't the runway be inspected in such occurances and NOTAMs issued...

Yes, if they know something had flooded the runway. If they have to NOTAM out the runway for every heavy rain until after performing inspections - most tropical airpots would be very restricted to the point of being uneconomic to operate. I've seen non-tropical storm rain put four or five inches of built up rain water on the ramps at ANU, GUM and some other military fields in the tropics. And these are airports with great drainage.
 
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RE: VS A330 Damaged After Landing In Flooded Runway

Fri Dec 27, 2013 3:17 pm

Quoting A388 (Reply 9):
A proper drainage system should be in place so the aerodrome operator can be blamed in this case for not complying to ICAO regulations.

It is most improbable that any existing airport drainage system is capable of handling every possible if unlikely situation.

Quoting cal764 (Reply 10):
where could the A330 been able to divert while on final, out of curiousity?

The BA Source is reporting that BA's 772 G-YMMR operating LGW-UVF-POS (BA2159) overflew UVF because of this problem and flew LGW-POS direct.
 
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RE: VS A330 Damaged After Landing In Flooded Runway

Fri Dec 27, 2013 3:25 pm

Quoting Gonzalo (Reply 7):
I'm just glad that they were able to stop in one piece and no one suffered any injuries after this.

Yeah, this sounds really dangerous actually. I am kind of surprised the plane didn't hydroplane when it touched down. The river isn't too close to the runway but they need some kind of upgrade to prevent this from happening. maybe a diversion channel is needed just in case.
 
canyonblue17
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RE: VS A330 Damaged After Landing In Flooded Runway

Fri Dec 27, 2013 9:46 pm

Just curious but doesn't TLPL sit on the ocean, and if so, was this flooding from a river or was this a tide/wave issue?
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RE: VS A330 Damaged After Landing In Flooded Runway

Fri Dec 27, 2013 10:06 pm

It also appears they redirected a waterway UNDER the airport... which is common.

Things happen... and if we blame the St Lucia airport for not preparing for this, we should also blame the Japanese Aviation authorities for not preparing for tsunamis.
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trintocan
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RE: VS A330 Damaged After Landing In Flooded Runway

Fri Dec 27, 2013 10:31 pm

This is a shocking incident. For starters, lety's be thankful that nobody was seriously hurt in this incident. The matter should be investigated and the plane repaired given some time. The reality is that the Eastern Caribbean had some severe weather in the last week which caused several deaths due to mudslides in St Lucia and Dominica, away from the airports - and this is the real tragedy for both nations. My mom, whose is in Barbados right now, told me that they got a lot of rain too although not the untoward consequences - then again Barbados is much flatter and less prone to mudslides than the two vertiginous Windward Islands mentioned.

Do VS fly TAB - UVF - LGW now? I recall in the past they flew LGW - TAB - GND - TAB - LGW. All the same disruption at the LGW side would cause delays to all flights regardless of terminal - with only one runway to work with delays would have significant knock-on effects all around.

Let's all be thankful that human life was not affected by this aviation incident and may the investigators come up with decent conclusions about what happened.

Trintocan.
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ikramerica
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RE: VS A330 Damaged After Landing In Flooded Runway

Fri Dec 27, 2013 11:20 pm

This seems like a 100 year flood condition. Not something usually cost effective to design for. That it happened at night just as a plane was landing is just bad luck. Usually similar rains would be during a CAT5 hurricane with the airport closed.

People are dead all over the region, power is out, water mains are washed away so sanitation will be a concern, and we have people trying to condemn the airport authority because an insured, replaceable aircraft was damaged in a fluke. Let's step back for some perspective.
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ADent
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RE: VS A330 Damaged After Landing In Flooded Runway

Sat Dec 28, 2013 8:58 am

AVherald reports the island got over 6 inches of rain in 24 hours and BBC reports 9 fatalities - so this is an unusual occurrence.

Rumors have a LD3 swept onto the runway, which the plane hit.

There is a damage pic on AvHerald - I tried linking it above, but there have been issues.

Accident: Virgin A333 at St. Lucia on Dec 24th 2013, mud landing on runway

[Edited 2013-12-28 10:35:16 by SA7700]
 
KFlyer
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RE: VS A330 Damaged After Landing In Flooded Runway

Sat Dec 28, 2013 9:11 am

Going by the level of damage seen on the aircraft, kudos to the crew for coming to a safe stop. Does anyone know whether more of belly is damaged?
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TC957
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RE: VS A330 Damaged After Landing In Flooded Runway

Sun Dec 29, 2013 7:51 am

Seems like UVF is open again now as both BA and VS had arrivals from there at LGW this morning.
 
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RE: VS A330 Damaged After Landing In Flooded Runway

Sun Dec 29, 2013 9:43 am

 
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DocLightning
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RE: VS A330 Damaged After Landing In Flooded Runway

Sun Dec 29, 2013 11:51 pm

Quoting rfields5421 (Reply 24):
Maybe, maybe not. Frankly crews can't really see all the runway lights well enough to determine if some are out. On many runways - the natural elevation changes don't allow all the lights to be seen when you are very close to flare or on the runway.

Not only that, but if the flood started as they were already nearing the airport perimeter, the landing lights getting washed out might have already passed below the nose, so they would never see it happening. It is truly stunning how quickly water can move across previously dry land.
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kc135topboom
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RE: VS A330 Damaged After Landing In Flooded Runway

Mon Dec 30, 2013 12:30 am

You have to ask, where does the airport drainage system drain to? The river? The ocean? In any event, an airport at sea level has very few options when it comes to where to put the water drained from the airfield. Almost all drainage systems are gravity type systems, very few include pumps. MSY is the only one I can think of off the top of my head. BOS, SFO, JFK, LAX, SEA all have gravity systems, and they are just about at sea level.

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 35):
It is truly stunning how quickly water can move across previously dry land.

If they had 6"+ of rain in the 24 hours prior to the landing, I doubt there would be any dry land on the airport. It would all be muddy grass land, including in the RSA. Water flows pretty quickly across mud.

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 35):
Quoting rfields5421 (Reply 24):Maybe, maybe not. Frankly crews can't really see all the runway lights well enough to determine if some are out. On many runways - the natural elevation changes don't allow all the lights to be seen when you are very close to flare or on the runway.Not only that, but if the flood started as they were already nearing the airport perimeter, the landing lights getting washed out might have already passed below the nose, so they would never see it happening.

In heavy rain, forward visibility may be just a few hundred feet, if that. I wonder what the RVR was that was being reported. Runway edge lights are spaced 200' apart, so the crew may only be able to see one or two light lengths down the runway. This is Cat IIIa weather.
 
RickNRoll
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RE: VS A330 Damaged After Landing In Flooded Runway

Mon Dec 30, 2013 1:50 am

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 36):
You have to ask, where does the airport drainage system drain to? The river? The ocean? In any event, an airport at sea level has very few options when it comes to where to put the water drained from the airfield. Almost all drainage systems are gravity type systems, very few include pumps. MSY is the only one I can think of off the top of my head. BOS, SFO, JFK, LAX, SEA all have gravity systems, and they are just about at sea level.

If you look at the aerial shot of the airport, it looks like the airport is built on a flood plain. The 'river' is a man made drain to divert the original river of stream that went through the area around the airport. In a flash flood like this, the water flow just reverts to the path it always took, through the airport.
 
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DocLightning
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RE: VS A330 Damaged After Landing In Flooded Runway

Mon Dec 30, 2013 4:35 am

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 36):
If they had 6" of rain in the 24 hours prior to the landing, I doubt there would be any dry land on the airport. It would all be muddy grass land, including in the RSA. Water flows pretty quickly across mud.

Good point.

Quoting o0OOO0oChris (Reply 34):
Here's another picture:

Where do the center tanks fit into all of that?
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Gonzalo
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RE: VS A330 Damaged After Landing In Flooded Runway

Mon Dec 30, 2013 4:52 pm

There is a new picture in the AvHerald report about this incident, showing how bad the flooding was. The picture was taken the day after the incident (12 to 14 hours after), and the runway/airport equipment is no longer recognizable, with the exception of the windsocket...

Rgds.
G
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kanban
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RE: VS A330 Damaged After Landing In Flooded Runway

Mon Dec 30, 2013 5:49 pm

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 38):
Where do the center tanks fit into all of that?

looks to be only wing to body fairing damage.. there may be AC systems tucked in there.. but the wing and center tank are clear.
 
by738
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RE: VS A330 Damaged After Landing In Flooded Runway

Mon Dec 30, 2013 7:45 pm

I dont get the feeling that this all happened literally within seconds and feel the landing should have been aborted with better ATC instruction

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