Nov. 25, 2003 – Because of the emergency landing of a small inter-island aircraft, the runway at Cyril E. King Airport was closed for about an hour at mid-day Tuesday.
Air St. Thomas Flight No. 5623Y, arriving from St. Barths, made the emergency landing at about 12:35 p.m. after its landing gear failed to operate, according to a release from the Port Authority.
Barbara Ricketts, airport manager, said the plane landed on its belly and skidded safely to a stop without further incident. The aircraft was carrying the pilot and two passengers; they were unhurt and "did not request medical services," she said.
Ricketts called it "a textbook emergency landing" and credited the pilot for having done "an excellent job."
The pilot had notified the airport control tower about 10 minutes earlier of the landing gear problem, she said, and airport emergency crew members were on standby as the plane came in.
The runway reopened at 1:33 p.m. after the aircraft was towed from the landing site, the VIPA release stated.
During the time the runway was closed, Ricketts said, five planes were in a holding pattern for landing. As soon as the runway was cleared, a private Cessna plane and an American Airlines jet landed. The other three aircraft — two American Eagle flights and one cargo flight from San Juan — returned to the Puerto Rico airport for later return to St. Thomas, she said.
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