France’s Montpellier airport shut after plane skids into lake

French authorities on Saturday closed the airport in the southern city of Montpellier after a cargo plane overran the runway and ended up in a lake.

Images showed the West Atlantic Boeing 737 tilting, with its nose in the lake and body perched on land.

The three crew escaped the accident in the early hours of Saturday unhurt, local authorities said.

The prefecture for the Herault region said the airport would be closed to passenger and cargo planes until a specialised firm could take the plane away.

“We will not reopen the airport as long as the aircraft is on the runway and the investigation is not finished,” an airport source said.

“After the removal of the aircraft, the runway will also be carefully checked.”

Twenty-one commercial flights had been scheduled on Saturday at the airport, which, in peak season, sees up to 197,000 passengers a month. “A technical incident prevents normal operation,” said an English message on the airport’s website, headlined “closure of Montpellier airport”.

The website showed that flights had either being cancelled or diverted to Marseille.

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