Tobago airport reopens after Virgin Atlantic plane mishap


Operations resumed around 6 o’clock this morning.

None of the 452 passengers and 16 crew members on board the flight, VS 52, was hurt in the accident which occurred around 7:25 pm when the Boeing 747-400, which was about to depart for Gatwick, London, entered a section of the airport that was undergoing repairs and closed for construction. The plane was immobilized as a result.

“The Airports Authority of Trinidad and Tobago (AATT) immediately activated its emergency plan. The Fire Service responded and all relevant stakeholders were alerted,” a statement from the government said. “AATT organized the shuttling of passengers from the aircraft to the terminal.”

The area of the runway had been closed to facilitate paving and rehabilitation works and the statement said the closed taxiway was appropriately marked and lit.

A team from the Trinidad and Tobago Civil Aviation Authority is conducting investigations to determine the cause of the incident.

Four Caribbean Airlines flights were cancelled as a result of the closure of the airport.

The Ministry of Transport said contingency plans were in place to accommodate passengers who were displaced as a result of the incident.

Last night’s incident was the second aviation mishap in the Caribbean in two weeks, following a Caribbean Airlines plane crash at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport in Guyana on July 30.

In that incident, there were no fatalities but some injuries, a few of them serious, when the plane carrying 163 passengers and crew overshot the runway, broke through the airport perimeter fence and split in two.

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