Passengers were terrified when a plane veered off the runway moments before taking off this morning (December 14). The Jetstar Airbus A320 had 140 people onboard when it skidded onto the grass next to the runway at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila, the Philippines, at around 2:35am local time (GMT+8). Footage shows the aircraft stuck in the grass, with the front wheel having ploughed a deep trench through the mud. Officials said the aircraft suffered ‘’runway excursion’’ and was ‘’stuck’’ in the grass before taking off for the flight to Narita Airport in Tokyo, Japan. Frustrated passengers were taken by bus back to the airport terminal where they were told to wait for a rescheduled flight. The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) said in a statement that all 140 passengers and crew onboard the Jetstar Japan plane for flight number GK 40 were safe. CAAP said that based on the initial report, an Airbus 320 Jetstar plane bound for Tokyo "experienced Runway 13/31 excursion upon making 180 degrees turn for departure" at 2:33 am on Saturday "and got stuck at the grassy portion of the runway." Manila International Airport Authority general manager Ed Monreal said the plane was about to take off when it veered to the shoulder of Runway 13. The airport said in a statement: "Runway 13-31 was closed for operations early today after an Airbus A320 jet with 140 passengers and crew onboard made an excursion towards the Runway Safety Area (RSA - grassy area) while positioning for takeoff. All 140 (139 plus 1 infant) passengers and crew deplaned safely and were brought back to NAIA Terminal 1 by shuttle buses. "Jetstar Asia flight GK40 from Manila to Narita, Japan, pushed back from the NAIA Terminal 1 at 2:08 a.m. and headed for Runway 13 for takeoff. While positioning for takeoff, the aircraft overshot the turn causing the front and right landing gears to veer towards the RSA leaving the front to get imbedded in the soft ground. "Based on initial reports, the incident occurred at 2:32 a.m. The MIAA Fire and Rescue and Operations teams immediately proceeded to the site to assist the passengers and crew. With the disabled aircraft blocking parts of the runway, Runway 13-31 is currently closed for operations with the affected flights using the main runway, Runway 06-24 for the meantime.’’ CAAP Director General Captain Jim Sydiongco and investigators from the CAAP Aircraft Accident Investigation Inquiry Board immediately proceeded to the area to conduct a probe. The runway was closed and several other flights were delayed.
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