Vietnam Airlines plane lands on wrong runway, suffers damages
On April 29, 2018, an Airbus A321 of Vietnam Airlines landed on an unfinished runway at Cam Ranh International Airport (CXR) in Nha Trang, Vietnam. While landing, the plane, carrying more than 200 passengers from Ho Chi Minh City, sucked foreign objects scattered on the construction site, damaging its engines.
Fortunately, the damages to the engines are minor. No explosion or fire was reported, and the tires did not explode. No passengers were harmed during the incident. The flight crew was immediately suspended, as Vietnam Airlines opened an investigation. The weather conditions were described as optimal during the day, leaving a pilot mistake, ATC wrongful instructions or a lack of marking on the runway as the most likely reasons of the incident.
The first results of the internal investigations hint at a mistake from the flight crew. However, the pilot testified saying that the runway was not bearing the markings and lights recommended by the ICAO to notify of its inoperability, according to Aviation Herald.
The captain of flight VN7344 is a U.S. citizen who started flying for Vietnam Airlines in January 2018, according to local media Kenh14.
Vietnam Airlines forwarded an apology to the passengers of the flight and said it would take the necessary dispositions to avoid such incidents in the future.
Cam Ranh is a former military base, built with two parallels runways by the United States during the Vietnam War. After the war, it was operated by Russia from 1979 to 2002. Its first commercial use dates back to 2004, at which time the second runway was long abandoned. It is currently being renovated, but is not yet connected to the rest of the airport apron, which could complicate the recovery of the aircraft.
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