A QANTAS plane has slid off the runway at Newman Airport in West Australia’s Pilbara region amid heavy rain from an ex-tropical cyclone in the state’s northwest.
All 80 passengers and crew exited via the stairs after the Fokker 100 aircraft slid onto gravel on Thursday morning and became stuck in the mud, about 50 metres past the end of the runway.
There were no injuries.
The airport has been closed and flights in and out of Newman cancelled for the rest of the day while workers attempt to move the aircraft.
A QantasLink spokesperson said the airline had commenced an internal investigation and reported the incident to the Australian Transport Safety Bureau.
“The aircraft has come to a complete stop in what’s called the runway end safety area,” she said.
“We apologise to impacted customers and are working to re-accommodate them as quickly as possible.”
Newman Airport recorded 130mm of rain in a 24-hour period to Thursday morning as ex-Tropical Cyclone Blake continued to track southeast.
Severe weather warning for heavy rainfall and damaging winds associated with EX Tropical #CycloneBlake. 24 hour rainfall totals to 9am include Marble Bar 144.2 mm & Newman Airport 142.8 mm. There was a wind gust of 76km/hr at Newman at 9.28am. https://t.co/kUUU4u7WWP pic.twitter.com/GzZuflYpaa
— Bureau of Meteorology, Western Australia (@BOM_WA) January 9, 2020
WAs first tropical cyclone of the summer has been downgraded to a tropical low but heavy rain has continued to lash the Kimberley and Pilbara regions.
Major flooding has occurred in the De Grey River catchment, including on the Coongan River at Marble Bar.
Flood warnings have also been issued for Fortescue River, the Salt Lakes District, West Kimberley District and parts of the Sandy Desert catchment.