The damaged Virgin Atlantic Airbus landing gear
By Caribbean News Now contributor
CASTRIES, St Lucia -- A Virgin Atlantic Airbus A330-300 flying from Tobago suffered substantial damage to its landing gear when it touched down on a flooded runway at Hewanorra International Airport in Saint Lucia on Tuesday. No injuries occurred.
According to reports of the incident, flight VS-98 was on its final approach to Saint Lucia at about 7:40 pm and had just received landing clearance when a nearby river burst its banks from torrential rains and flooded the airport, washing away the weather station and depositing mud and water on the runway. The aircraft touched down on the flooded runway and managed to come to a stop.
The onward flight to London Gatwick had to be cancelled and, as of Thursday, the damaged aircraft was reportedly still on the ground in Saint Lucia.
Due to the flooding, the airport closed for the rest of Tuesday and Wednesday but reopened at 3:00 pm on Thursday. However, no jet fuel was reportedly due to be available until Friday.
On Thursday, Virgin Atlantic flight VS-89 from London to Saint Lucia and onward to St George's flew directly to Grenada and did not land in Saint Lucia.
According to the Saint Lucia Air and Sea Ports Authority (SLASPA), Hewanorra International Airport on Thursday safely accommodated the landing of Condor 4258 and JetBlue 881. The departure of Condor 4259 and JetBlue 882 was also safely facilitated, processing a total of 460 passengers.