Cargo plane ends up in water at Montpellier airport

Montpellier airport in southern France is closed after a cargo plane left the runway and ended up with its nose and at least one engine dipping into the water.

No casualties are reported.

The Boeing 737 belonging to West Atlantic had flown south from Paris Charles de Gaulle airport to Montpellier in the early hours of Saturday, arriving shortly before 3am. But according to French air accident investigators, the plane left the runway during the landing.

The Bureau d’enquêtes et d’analyses (BEA) posted photographs showing the aircraft precariously at rest with the nose and forward fuselage in the lagoon at the southern end of the runway, with the starboard engine in the water.

One forward door is open on the starboard side, as well as a rear door on the port side with a ladder dangling – suggesting that was how the pilots left the aircraft. A fire engine is in attendance.

The BEA tweeted: “Accident of @BoeingFrance #737 registered EC-NLS operated by #WestAtlantic / runway excursion during landing on 24/09/22 at the airport of @mplaeroport/ 4 investigators @BEA_Aero on site / opening of a security investigation.”

According to data supplied by the Flightradar24 website, the aircraft was travelling very fast – around 160 knots – when it landed, and did not stop in time before the end of the runway.

Montpellier is one of the 10 busiest airports in France by passenger numbers. On Saturday morning the airport website told passengers a “technical incident” had shut down operations, and urged them not to go to the airport unless their airline confirmed the flight would be operating.

All flights during the morning have been cancelled, including the 6.15am easyJet departure from London Gatwick to Montpellier. The airline told passengers: “This is due to a non-easyJet aircraft incident at Montpellier airport.”

The return leg was also cancelled, but this evening’s easyJet flights are shown as operating.

Other cancellations include multiple flights to and from Paris, some of which were diverted, plus links from Amsterdam, Athens and Luxembourg.

Passengers whose flights are cancelled are entitled to be flown to their destination at the earliest opportunity for which flights or other transportation are available.