Plane skids off rainy Manila runway, rips off engine, wheel

The left engine of Boeing passenger plane from China, a Xiamen Air, sits several meters away on the grassy portion of the runway of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport after it skidded off the runway while landing Friday, Aug. 17, 2018 in suburban Pasay city, southeast of Manila, Philippines. All the passengers and crew of Xiamen Air Flight 8667 were safe and were taken to an airport terminal, where they were given blankets and food before being taken to a hotel. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)
Xiamen Air, a Boeing passenger plane from China, sits on the grassy portion of the runway of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport after it skidded off the runway while landing Friday, Aug. 17, 2018 in suburban Pasay city southeast of Manila, Philippines. All the passengers and crew of Xiamen Air Flight 8667 were safe and were taken to an airport terminal, where they were given blankets and food before being taken to a hotel. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)
A Cebu Pacific passenger plane takes off, in background, while a Boeing passenger plane from China, a Xiamen Air, lies on the grassy portion of the runway of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport after it skidded off the runway while landing Friday, Aug. 17, 2018 in suburban Pasay city southeast of Manila, Philippines. All the passengers and crew of Xiamen Air flight MF8667 were safe and were taken to an airport terminal, where they were given blankets and food before being taken to a hotel. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)
A Boeing passenger plane from China, a Xiamen Air, sits on the grassy portion of the runway of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport after it skidded off the runway while landing Friday, Aug. 17, 2018 in suburban Pasay city southeast of Manila, Philippines. All the passengers and crew of Xiamen Air Flight 8667 were safe and were taken to an airport terminal, where they were given blankets and food before being taken to a hotel. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)
A Boeing passenger plane from China, a Xiamen Air, sits on the grassy portion of the runway of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport after it skidded off the runway while landing Friday, Aug. 17, 2018 in suburban Pasay city, southeast of Manila, Philippines. All the passengers and crew of Xiamen Air Flight 8667 were safe and were taken to an airport terminal, where they were given blankets and food before being taken to a hotel. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)
A Boeing passenger plane from China, a Xiamen Air, sits on the grassy portion of the runway of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport after it skidded off the runway while landing Friday, Aug. 17, 2018 in suburban Pasay city southeast of Manila, Philippines. All the passengers and crew of Xiamen Air Flight 8667 were safe and were taken to an airport terminal, where they were given blankets and food before being taken to a hotel. The left engine is visible on the left. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)
Hundreds of airline passengers gather to check their flights at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport after a Chinese Xiamen Air Boeing passenger plane skidded off the runway while landing Friday, Aug. 17, 2018, in Manila, Philippines. The Xiamen Air flight MF8667 has skidded off a runway at Manila's airport while landing in a downpour and its 157 passengers and eight crew members have been evacuated by emergency slide. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)
Hundreds of airline passengers gather to check their flights at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport after a Chinese Xiamen Air Boeing passenger plane skidded off the runway while landing Friday, Aug. 17, 2018, in Manila, Philippines. The Xiamen Air flight MF8667 has skidded off a runway at Manila's airport while landing in a downpour and its 157 passengers and eight crew members have been evacuated by emergency slide. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)
Airline passengers gather to check their flights at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport after a Chinese Xiamen Air Boeing passenger plane skidded off the runway while landing Friday, Aug. 17, 2018, in Manila, Philippines. The Xiamen Air flight MF8667 has skidded off a runway at Manila's airport while landing in a downpour and its 157 passengers and eight crew members have been evacuated by emergency slide. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)
A Philippine Airlines passenger plane takes off while a Boeing passenger plane from China, a Xiamen Air, lies on the grassy portion of the runway of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport after it skidded off the runway while landing Friday, Aug. 17, 2018 in suburban Pasay city southeast of Manila, Philippines. All the passengers and crew of Xiamen Air flight MF8667 were safe and were taken to an airport terminal, where they were given blankets and food before being taken to a hotel. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)
A Jetstar passenger plane taxis upon landing while a Xiamen Air, right, sits on the grassy portion of the runway of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport after it skidded off the runway while landing Friday, Aug. 17, 2018 in suburban Pasay city, southeast of Manila, Philippines. All the passengers and crew of Xiamen Air Flight 8667 were safe and were taken to an airport terminal, where they were given blankets and food before being taken to a hotel. The left engine is visible on the left. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)
Rescuers are seen at the scene as a Boeing passenger plane from China, a Xiamen Air, lies on the grassy portion of the runway of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport after it skidded off the runway while landing Friday, Aug. 17, 2018 in suburban Pasay city southeast of Manila, Philippines. All the passengers and crew of Xiamen Air flight MF8667 were safe and were taken to an airport terminal, where they were given blankets and food before being taken to a hotel. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)
A Boeing passenger plane from China, a Xiamen Air, lies on the grassy portion of the runway of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport after it skidded off the runway while landing Friday, Aug. 17, 2018, in suburban Pasay city southeast of Manila, Philippines. All the passengers and crew of Xiamen Air flight MF8667 were safe and were taken to an airport terminal, where they were given blankets and food before being taken to a hotel. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)
Ninoy Aquino International Airport general manager Ed Monreal, center, gestures during a news conference explaining the details after a Chinese Xiamen Air Boeing passenger plane skidded off the runway while landing Friday, Aug. 17, 2018, in Manila, Philippines. The Xiamen Air flight MF8667 has skidded off a runway at Manila's airport while landing in a downpour and its 157 passengers and eight crew members have been evacuated by emergency slide. At left is Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines Director General Jim Sydiongco and at right is Xiamen Air General Manager Lin Huagun. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)
A Boeing passenger plane from China, a Xiamen Air, lies on the grassy portion of the runway of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport after it skidded off the runway while landing Friday, Aug. 17, 2018, in suburban Pasay city southeast of Manila, Philippines. All the passengers and crew of Xiamen Air flight MF8667 are safe and were taken to an airport terminal, where they were given blankets and food before being taken to a hotel. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

MANILA, Philippines — A plane from China veered off a runway at Manila's airport while landing in a downpour near midnight then got stuck in a muddy field with one engine and wheel ripped off before the 165 people on board scrambled out through an emergency slide, officials said Friday.

Only four passengers sustained scratches and all the rest including eight crewmembers aboard Xiamen Air Flight 8667 were safe and taken to an airport terminal, where they were given blankets and food before going to a hotel, airport general manager Ed Monreal told a news conference.

The Boeing 737 from China's coastal city of Xiamen at first attempted but failed to land apparently due to poor visibility that may have hindered the pilots' view of the runway, Director-General of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines Jim Sydiongco told reporters.

The plane circled before landing on its second attempt but lost contact with the airport tower, Sydiongco said.

"We think that when (it) landed, the plane swerved to the left and veered off the runway," said Monreal, expressing relief that a disaster had been avoided. "With God's blessing all passengers and the crew were able to evacuate safely and no injuries except for about four who had some superficial scratches."

The aircraft appeared to have "bounced" in a hard landing then veered off the runway and rolled toward a rain-soaked grassy area with its lights off, Eric Apolonio, spokesman of the civil aviation agency said, citing an initial report about the incident.

Investigators retrieved the plane's flight recorder and will get the cockpit voice recorder once the aircraft has been lifted to determine the cause of the accident, Sydiongco said.

Ninoy Aquino International Airport, Manila's main international gateway, will be closed most of Friday while emergency crews remove excess fuel then try to lift the aircraft, its belly resting on the muddy ground, away from the main runway, which was being cleared of debris, officials said.

A smaller runway for domestic flights remained open, they said.

TV footage showed the plane slightly tilting to the left, its left badly damaged wing touching the ground and its landing wheels not readily visible as emergency personnel, many in orange overalls, examined and surrounded the aircraft. One of the detached engines and landing wheels lay a few meters (yards) away.

A Xiamen Air representative, Lin Hua Gun, said the airline will send another plane to Manila to resume the flight.

Several international and domestic flights have been canceled or diverted due to the closure of the airport, which lies in a densely populated residential and commercial section of metropolitan Manila. Airline officials initially said the airport could be opened by noon but later extended it to four more hours.

Hundreds of stranded passengers jammed one of three airport terminals due to flight cancellations and diversions. Dozens of international flights were cancelled or either returned or were diverted elsewhere in the region, officials said.

Torrential monsoon rains enhanced by a tropical storm flooded many low-lying areas of Manila and northern provinces last weekend, displacing thousands of residents and forcing officials to shut schools and government offices. The weather has improved with sporadic downpours.

___

Associated Press journalists Bullit Marquez and Joeal Calupitan contributed to this report.

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