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June 8, 2013

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Jet runs off runway in rainstorm landing

A JET ran off the runway at Shanghai's Hongqiao airport yesterday when it landed during torrential rain, No one was hurt.

Meanwhile, gales led to the sinking of five ships at the mouth of the Yangtze River. One sailor was still missing last night after 19 others had been saved.

At Hongqiao, the China Eastern Airlines regional jet arrived from Huai'an in east Jiangsu Province with 44 passengers onboard when it ran into a grass area shortly after it touched down at 5:25pm.

"A strong downdraft during the rainstorm when the jet about to land most probably caused the accident," a senior pilot with China Eastern said.

A witness said the jet's front undercarriage had touched the ground first, breaking immediately on impact.

The airline said the cause of the accident was still under investigation.

Airline staff evacuated all passengers and crew from the aircraft were evacuated and all were safe, China Eastern said.

The airport authority closed a runway near the Terminal 1 building at around 7pm to clear away debris. The closure caused a number of delays to later flights but the runway reopened at 9pm.

Pictures posted online showed the jet's tail stuck in the grass, the broken undercarriage and deep scores on the runway.

"I was totally freaked out because all the passengers were almost killed," Li Jun, one of the passengers, said.

Continuous rains led to delays or cancellations of around 30 percent of domestic and international flights at Hongqiao yesterday, the airport authority said. Most were delayed by over an hour with the worst-affected being about three hours late in taking off.

Flights from Shanghai to Beijing, one of the busiest domestic routes, suffered the worst delays with some 70 percent of hourly flights failing to take off in time.

High-speed trains delayed

"The Beijing capital airport also encountered a rainstorm that meant many aircraft could not land," a duty manager at Hongqiao said.

The rain also affected high-speed railways between Shanghai and Beijing with eight trains delayed by up to 30 minutes, the Shanghai railway authority said.

Gales hitting the coast were to blame for the sinkings at the mouth of the Yangtze, the Shanghai maritime administration said. Shipping was restricted in the area while rescue efforts continued.

Strong winds also caused problems at Wusongkou Port when more than 20 empty containers were blown into the water from a ship coming into harbor, officials said.

Shanghai recorded more than 50 millimeters of rain yesterday with the beginning of the plum rain season.

The Shanghai Meteorological Bureau issued a yellow rainstorm alert, second lowest of the four-level system, and the lowest, blue, level of wind alert yesterday. Shanghai Flood Control Headquarters also issued a blue flood alert.

A village in Jinshan District recorded 90 millimeters of rain over a 24-hour period.

Shanghai residents can expect frequent showers over the next few days, forecasters said, with occasional thunder today and tomorrow and daily rainfall of between 40 and 60 millimeters.

Around 1,500 families lost power for more than two hours last night because of the bad weather.

Circuits were tripped at a substation on Lingling Road in Xuhui District at around 7:43pm. Residents living near the Nandan Road E. suffered a blackout until the supply could be restored at around 10pm.

A power failure affecting the Pudong New Area and Jiading District was being investigated but was most likely also caused by the rainstorm, officials said.

"Technical failure" in a cable underneath the Huangpu River caused a blackout that plunged many areas in downtown Shanghai into darkness on Wednesday night.


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