Twenty injured as plane skids off runway

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The Independent Online

A passenger plane with about 100 people on board skidded off the end of an airport runway while landing in heavy rain on Indonesia's remote Papua province today, injuring about 20 people.

The Boeing 737, operated by Merpati Nusantara Airline, was landing at Manokwari airport when it slid into a small canal at the end of the runway, police official Didi Zaenal said. He said the plane had flown in from the nearby city of Sorong.

Around 20 passengers, most with bruises and some with broken bones, were taken to hospital. There were no reports of fatalities.

Police chief Bambang Ricky told Indonesia's official Antara news agency that the plane's fuselage was split open in the accident. He said there were 103 passengers and six crew on board.

Papua, about 1,830 miles east of the capital Jakarta, is one of the most isolated and underdeveloped regions of Indonesia.

There are few roads in the province, which occupies the western half of the island of New Guinea, and air travel is a common form of transport.

Indonesia has seen a string of air crashes in recent years.

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