Plane skids off HK runway in heavy rain

HONG KONG • A plane veered off the runway at Hong Kong airport yesterday as the city issued this year's first black rainstorm signal, forcing the airstrip's temporary closure and delaying scores of flights.

The China Eastern Airlines flight from Nanjing, which had 141 people on board, skidded onto a grass area as it was taxiing to the gate, Hong Kong's Airport Authority said. Two passengers reported feeling unwell and were sent to hospital.

The runway - one of two at the airport - was temporarily shuttered, delaying 109 flights, both incoming and outgoing, the authority said, with local media reporting heavy stacking over the storm- soaked city where aircraft circle overhead waiting to land.

The major Asian transport hub issued this year's first "black rainstorm warning" - the highest of three heavy rain signals - before midday, which saw several schools close for the afternoon.

Around 150mm of rain was recorded at the airport early yesterday, according to the Hong Kong Observatory. But all rainstorm warnings were cancelled at 3pm.

The Hong Kong government had received 17 reports of flooding, 18 about fallen trees and three concerning landslides as of 3pm.

As with previous rainstorm warnings, Hong Kongers took to social media to ask why the Observatory issued the black signal when many office workers had already arrived at their workplaces, reported South China Morning Post.

"Now we are all stuck in the office. Happy now?" one user said on the forum HKGolden.

Thundery showers associated with a trough of low pressure also affected the coastal areas of China's Guangdong province.

The province's meteorological authority has issued dozens of rainfall warnings, including a red alert for severe downpours and seven blue weather warnings indicating thunderstorms.

In the city of Wuzhou in the Guangxi region, a house collapsed amid continuous torrential rain, killing three and injuring four others. In Guangzhou, Guangdong's capital, rain inundated 20 houses and brought down a tree, blocking traffic.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, XINHUA

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 25, 2017, with the headline 'Plane skids off HK runway in heavy rain'. Print Edition | Subscribe