Urgent.. a plane splits in half while trying to make an emergency landing

A DHL cargo plane snapped in two after skidding off the runway during an emergency landing in Costa Rica.

The tail of the plane broke off and one of its wings broke after it landed at Juan Santamaria International Airport on the outskirts of the capital, San Jose.

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The Boeing 757-200 was bound for Guatemala City, but the pilot requested permission to return 35 miles into the flight after discovering a hydraulic system malfunction.

The tail of the DHL cargo plane and one of the wings were smashed, but the pilot and co-pilot, on board, were unhurt in the accident.

DHL said one of them underwent a medical examination as a precaution. "The units were mobilized to get the pilot and co-pilot out," said Costa Rica Fire Department Director Hector Chaves.

The airport was closed in the wake of the accident, affecting about 8,500 passengers and 57 commercial and cargo flights

Some planes have been diverted to Daniel Oduber International Airport in Liberia, about 125 miles northwest of San Jose.

The airport reopened around 3.30pm local time, according to the airport's operator, Iris. An investigation has been launched to ascertain the cause of the accident

DHL and airport authorities are now working together to move the plane, although it is not believed to affect operations

"The DHL Incident Response Team has been activated and an investigation will be conducted with the relevant authorities to determine what happened," the German logistics company, a subsidiary of the Deutsche Post DHL group, said in a statement.

The airport was expected to remain closed until 6 p.m. local time, which will affect three cargo flights and 32 commercial flights to and from the United States, Central America, Mexico, Canada and Europe.