Singapore Airshow: Korean plane skids, crashes at Changi Airport; runway temporarily closed

singapore air show 2016
A Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) F-15SG fighter aircraft performs a maneuver as it flies past an RSAF AH-64D Apache helicopter during a preview of the Singapore Airshow at Changi exhibition center in Singapore February 14, 2016.

A Korean aircraft that was taking part in the Singapore Airshow caught fire following an accident at Changi Airport on Tuesday afternoon.

The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) said that an aircraft from the Black Eagles aerobatic team from the Republic of Korea Air Force skidded and crashed into the grass verge at the side of Changi Airport's Runway 1 and caught fire.

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According to CAAS, when the incident took place at about 1.24 pm, the aircraft was taking off for the flying display programme at the Singapore Airshow. "The pilot sustained light injuries and is being treated," CAAS told Channel NewsAsia.

Changi Aiport Group (CAG) said in an advisory posted on its Facebook page that the airport's emergency service put out the fire. It added that the authorities will keep runway 1 closed until further notice.

In a subsequent update, CAG said that "a number of departure and arrival flights will be delayed over the next few hours". It added: "Passengers are advised to check the latest flight information on or iChangi app. Our customer service teams are on ground to provide assistance if needed."

"We apologise for any inconvenience caused," said CAG.

Yonhap News Agency reported that the South Korean Air Force said "the pilot remains safe". It has launched an investigation to find out the exact cause of the accident, as well as the potential damage.

Gerald Searle, a 51-year-old eyewitness, said: "I saw the plane spin sideways, flip over and then slide down the runway upside down."

"It burst into flames, though most at the rear," Searle, who was at the airport waiting for his flight to Australia told Channel NewsAsia.

In 2016, A Singapore Airlines (SIA) flight to Milan caught fire on the runway at Changi Airport while making an emergency landing due to a fuel leak. Although the passengers on board the plane escaped unharmed, Runway 2 was closed by the authorities after the accident.

This article was first published on February 6, 2018