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14 survive crash as light plane overshoots runway

MIRI, 13 Sept 2008: A light passenger aircraft crashed after overshooting the runway while landing at the Ba’Kelalan airport, about 120 miles east of here, today but all 14 people on board are safe.

The DHC-6 Twin Otter aircraft, belonging to Malaysia Airlines’ subsidiary MASWings, crashed at the end of the runway at the short take-off and landing airport (STOLport) as it came in to land at 9.34 am, said Ba’Kelalan State Assemblyperson Nelson Balang Rining who was briefed by officers of the Lawas Department of Civil Aviation.

The pilot, co-pilot and all 12 passengers were unhurt in the incident, which badly damaged the aircraft, he said when contacted.

Nelson, who is now in Lawas, said the weather was " fine" when the aircraft took off from Lawas STOLport at 8.45 am.

In KUCHING, MASWings managing director Dr Amin Khan, when contacted, said the aircraft, on a Miri-Lawas-Ba’Kelalan flight, skidded about 10 metres from the runway.

"There were no casualties or serious injury. It is the standard procedure to ensure flight safety. We took all the safety measures," he said.

He said an investigation would be made on the cause of the accident and that MASWings engineers based in Miri would be flown to Ba’Kelalan to assist in the probe.

Amin said the accident did not affect MASWings schedule of flights and that the runway at Ba’Kelalan airport remained open.

MASWings makes three flights a week to BA’Kelalan, which is reached easily by air. The land route requires the use of a timber track from Lawas town.

The 19-seater Twin Otter aircraft was one of the five operated by MASWings for its rural air services (RAS) in Sarawak. – Bernama

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