More details are emerging after a plane for international shipper DHL dramatically crash-landed and split in half at a Costa Rican airport in the capital San José on Thursday.
“Mayday, mayday, mayday, we have problems with our left hydraulic system. We have two souls aboard,” the pilots of the plane, who were both evacuated from the wreck safely, radioed into the control tower at Costa Rica’s Juan Santamaria International Airport, according to audio published by the Costa Rican newspaper La Nación,
“We are going to prepare our plane to be able to do an emergency landing.”
Both crew members were sent to the hospital for a medical checkup and “remember everything vividly,” Red Cross worker Guido Vasquez told CBS News.
Spectators also captured dramatic footage of the impact.
The plane, a Boeing 757-200 bound for Guatemala, reported problems shortly after taking off from San José and requested an emergency landing.
The craft was in a holding pattern above the airport for nearly an hour, according to flight tracking radar, potentially to rid itself of fuel ahead of the landing.
Upon landing, the plane skidding and turned 180 degrees, before falling into a ditch and cracking towards its tail section.
“Units mobilized to remove the pilot and co-pilot,” Héctor Chaves, director of he Costa Rica Fire Department, said at the time. “Then they applied foam to prevent a spill and now they are working on an earthen dike to avoid any fuel from reaching the drainage system.”
The crash impacted 57 different cargo and passenger flights bound for the US, Central America, Mexico, Canada and Europe, affecting roughly 8,500 passengers.
The airport reopened for flights later that afternoon, hours ahead of schedule, according to officials.
The crashed plane was operated by Panamanian DHL subsidiary Aero Expresso.
An investigation is underway to determine the cause of the accident, according to DHL.