Six people were injured after the wheels of a recently delivered Vietjet Airbus plane flew off as the aircraft made a rough landing in central Vietnam, officials said on Friday.
The incident comes as Southeast Asia’s booming aviation industry faces scrutiny following last month’s deadly Lion Air crash in Indonesia blamed on technical problems with a near-new Boeing 737 that the airline failed to check.
Like Indonesia, Vietnam’s airline industry has expanded rapidly in recent years with carriers such as budget airline Vietjet buying up planes and adding domestic and international routes.
On Thursday evening, a plane lost its nose wheels as it made a rough landing in Buon Ma Thuot from Ho Chi Minh City, according to the transport ministry.
The flight “encountered a serious incident during landing, during which two front wheels of the aircraft were lost,” according to a report seen by AFP, written by the ministry for the Prime Minister.
Images published by industry publication Flightglobal showed the nose wheels shorn off and the emergency slides deployed from the plane’s side.
The flight’s 207 passengers were safely evacuated but six people were briefly hospitalised with minor injuries, Vietnam’s Civil Aviation Authority said.
The Airbus A321 plane had been delivered to Vietjet two weeks ago, though it was not clear if it was a new aircraft.
An Airbus spokesperson told AFP they “are in contact with the airline to determine what occurred and will provide all necessary technical assistance”.
The airline, the country’s fastest-growing carrier and owned by Vietnam’s richest woman, said it was in contact with authorities to “assess the incident and promptly support all affected passengers”.
Vietjet has courted controversy in conservative Vietnam by staffing inaugural flights with bikini-clad air hostesses and with its racy annual holiday calendars that have raised eyebrows at home.
Vietnam’s aviation sector has soared in recent years, with passenger numbers jumping to 62 million last year from 25 million in 2012.