Flights delayed after jet in S'pore Airshow crashes on Changi runway
Pilot hurt after jet from South Korean Black Eagles aerobatic team skids off runway and catches fire
An accident at the Singapore Airshow 2018 led to a runway closure at Changi Airport and delayed commercial flights yesterday.
Attendees at the first day of the trade exhibition of the Singapore Airshow were hoping to see an exciting aerial display.
But what they got was drama on the ground when one of the planes taking part in the aerial display skidded and caught fire.
The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) said an aircraft of the Black Eagles aerobatic team from the Republic of Korea Air Force skidded, crashed into the grass verge at the side of Changi Airport's Runway 1 and caught fire.
The incident happened at about 1.30pm while the single-seater plane was taking off.
Runway 1 is one of two runways operating at Changi Airport.
Airport Emergency Service responded to the incident immediately and the fire was extinguished. The pilot sustained light injuries and is being treated, the CAAS release stated.
However, commercial flights were affected due to the runway closure.
Following the incident, Changi Airport announced on its Facebook page that Runway 1 will be closed until further notice, adding that a number of departure and arrival flights were expected to be affected.
A Changi Airport spokesman later said in a statement that about 170 flights were delayed by an hour or more due to the incident, adding that airline staff, ground handlers and Changi Airport Group worked together to assist affected passengers.
One passenger, Mr Mark Rabjohns, 54, an Australian IT consultant based in Singapore, was stranded in Kuala Lumpur for over four hours.
His flight, which was scheduled to leave at 5.20pm was rescheduled to 9.30pm.
Mr Rabjohns said: "It is an inconvenience but understandable in the circumstances."
"I understand that nobody is badly hurt - and that is the main thing. If I am a few hours delayed but end up arriving safely, then I am happy."
Runway 1 was re-opened at around 7pm.
Experia Events, the organiser for the airshow, said in a release: "The Black Eagles are not scheduled to perform on Wednesday (Feb 7) as per the original flying display schedule. We will provide an update on the rest of their scheduled performances as soon as possible."
OPEN TO PUBLIC
The airshow will be open to the public this weekend on Feb 10 and 11.
When asked, Experia declined to comment on the incident.
Mr Greg Waldron, Asia managing editor of aviation information group Flightglobal, said: "There must be an investigation before we can say for sure what happened, but generally, there can be a variety of possible causes, whether it is pilot error or a mechanical fault."
He added that with such high performance fighters, while it is unlikely and unusual for such incidences to occur, it is not unheard of.
He added: "With these advanced and powerful planes, there shouldn't be accidents, especially at such a low distance from the ground, but it can happen.
"This is why shows usually keep audiences at a safe distance."
This is not the first incident in which the Black Eagles aerobatic team has found itself in trouble at the Singapore Airshow.
In 2010, a South Korean jet infringed on Singapore Airshow's safety boundaries when it flew dangerously close to the crowd.
The plane, a T-50 Golden Eagle, was the same model that caught fire today.
That year, the aerial display, which was supposed to last eight minutes, was shortened to less than half of that after the incident.