Crash probe continues

2010-06-13 16:35

Johannesburg - Lanseria airport is reopening after the wreckage of a plane which had to belly-land (wheels-up) was removed from its runway on Sunday.

"The aircraft has been removed from the runaway," SA Civil Aviation Authority spokesperson Kabelo Ledwaba said.

"Our investigators have done the on-site investigation... the investigation will continue off-site."

Johan Opperman, marketing and public relations manager for Lanseria airport, said it would take time for all operations to be back to normal.

"The airport is being opened... It will take four to five hours to return to normal."

However, one pilot who can be assured his travel plans remain intact is movie star John Travolta. Travolta flew into the country on his own Qantas-branded 707 aircraft at Lanseria Airport on Friday.

"It shouldn't have an effect on Mr Travolta's departure time for 17:30 this afternoon," Opperman said.

No one hurt

Travolta, a qualified pilot and a spokesperson for Australian airline Qantas, is in South Africa to support Australia's World Cup team. Australia is playing against Germany in Durban on Sunday night.

The Metroliner twin turboprop aircraft was removed from the main runway after the wheels-up landing around 11:00. Nobody was hurt.

"(The plane) took off with 13 passengers and two crew on the way to Polokwane. After take-off they realised there were problems with the undercarriage. They decided to return to Lanseria."

Opperman said they got "emergency technical advice" on how best to do this.

"They flew around for about an hour to get rid of excess fuel and then completed a wheels-up landing."