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Probe begins on why DHL freighter broke apart on landing

Investigators to examine why plane needed to make emergency landing after take-off

Photo: Juan Santamaria Airport

U.S. aviation investigators are en route to the Costa Rican capital of San José this weekend to investigate why a DHL Express Boeing 757-200 freighter skidded off the runway on Thursday morning and broke in half before careening to a stop.

The aircraft bound for Guatemala City had just taken off when the two-person crew notified air traffic control of mechanical problems and requested to make an emergency return landing at Juan Santamaria International Airport. After touchdown, the plane veered to the right and spun around, according to video posts. As the plane spun, the fuselage broke in two.

Neither crewmember was injured. The airport was temporarily closed after the accident. Published reports said that 57 flights were affected. Regular operations resumed at 3:30 p.m. local time, according to published reports. 

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is involved in the investigation under an international treaty allowing participation by the country where the plane was manufactured.

DHL Express is a unit of German transportation and logistics giant Deutsche Post DHL (OTCUS: DPSGY).

Mark Solomon

Formerly the Executive Editor at DC Velocity, Mark Solomon joined FreightWaves as Managing Editor of Freight Markets. Solomon began his journalistic career in 1982 at Traffic World magazine, ran his own public relations firm (Media Based Solutions) from 1994 to 2008, and has been at DC Velocity since then. Over the course of his career, Solomon has covered nearly the whole gamut of the transportation and logistics industry, including trucking, railroads, maritime, 3PLs, and regulatory issues. Solomon witnessed and narrated the rise of Amazon and XPO Logistics and the shift of the U.S. Postal Service from a mail-focused service to parcel, as well as the exponential, e-commerce-driven growth of warehouse square footage and omnichannel fulfillment.