SINGAPORE: An aircraft that was taking part in the Singapore Airshow caught fire after an accident at Changi Airport on Tuesday (Feb 6) afternoon, delaying about 170 flights.
The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) said that at 1.24pm, an aircraft from the Black Eagles aerobatic team from the Republic of Korea Air Force skidded and crashed into the grass verge at the side of Changi Airport's Runway 1 and caught fire.
The aircraft was taking off for the flying display programme at the Singapore Airshow when the incident happened, CAAS said.
"The pilot sustained light injuries and is being treated," it added. He was given a check-up at the airport clinic and later discharged, Changi Airport Group (CAG) said.
Eyewitness Gerald Searle, 51, was at the airport waiting for his flight to Australia when he saw the accident.
"I saw the plane spin sideways, flip over and then slide down the runway upside down," said Mr Searle. "It burst into flames, though most at the rear."
Close-up photos, which appear to have been taken from the runway, have emerged online. They show the KAI T-50 Golden Eagle plane lying upside down on the grass which is covered with white foam.
In an advisory posted on its Facebook page, CAG said that the airport's emergency service put out the fire.
Runway 1 was closed to facilitate investigations by the authorities before the aircraft could be removed.
"We apologise for any inconvenience caused," it said.
Airport authorities said Runway 1 reopened at about 7pm.
"The runway was checked thoroughly and cleaned up to ensure that it was safe and ready for operations before it could be reopened," CAG said.
A total of 170 flights were delayed for an hour or more, it added in an update at about 10.30pm.
"Due to the incident, operations at Changi Airport were impacted as it was operating with just one runway instead of two," it said. "Flight operations are expected to return to normal later tonight."
Thai Airways flight TG414, which was scheduled to depart at 3.55pm for Bangkok, was delayed until 7pm. The flight was delayed as the incoming aircraft could not land because of the incident, Channel NewsAsia understands.
According to the Changi Airport website, a number of AirAsia flights were also delayed by about two to three hours, including flight AK706 to Kuala Lumpur, flight FD356 to Bangkok and flight QZ362 to Bandung.
Other delayed flights include a Lion Air departure to Jakarta (JT155) and a SilkAir flight to Penang (MI352).
The South Korean Air Force has launched an investigation into the cause of the accident as well as the potential damage caused, according to a report by Yonhap News Agency.
"I was sorry to hear about the incident with the Korean Black Eagles but glad the pilot is safe," Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said in a Facebook post on Tuesday night.